Magnetic Stimulation may Ameliorate Memory Deficits in Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is often accompanied by extensive impairment of memory, including prospective memory, which is the ability to remember to perform future activities. In a randomised clinical trial published in Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, researchers found that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a non-invasive method that uses alternating magnetic fields to induce an electric current in the underlying brain tissue, may help ameliorate certain aspects of prospective memory in individuals with schizophrenia.

The trial included 50 patients with schizophrenia and 18 healthy controls. Of the 50 patients, 26 completed active rTMS and 24 completed a sham rTMS. Healthy controls received no treatment.

Investigators assessed event-based prospective memory, which is remembering to perform an action when an external event occurs, such as remembering to give a message to a friend when you next see them and also time-based prospective memory, which is remembering to perform an action at a certain time, such as remembering to attend a scheduled meeting.

Both event-based prospective memory and time-based prospective memory scores at the baseline of the trial were significantly lower in patients with schizophrenia than in controls. After rTMS treatments, the scores of event-based prospective memories in patients were significantly improved and were similar to those in controls, while patients’ scores of time-based prospective memory did not improve.

“The findings of this study may provide one therapeutic option for prospective memory in patients with schizophrenia,” said co–corresponding author Su-Xia Li, MD, PhD, of Peking University, in China.

Source: Wiley

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