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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 10, 612 - 616

Short report

Non-invasive brain stimulation in schizophrenia: hallucinations and negative symptoms

A. Aleman, J. Brummelman, J.J. Dlabac-de lange, S. Koops, H. Knegtering, S.F.W. Neggers, I.E. Sommer

background New approaches are needed in the treatment of characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations and negative symptoms. Non-invasive brain stimulation can make a useful contribution.
aim To discuss the published evidence regarding efficacy and safety of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rtms) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tdcs) when used in the treatment of auditory verbal hallucinations and negative symptoms.
method We review and discuss recent meta-analyses and we analyse relevant factors.
results On average, when compared to sham-stimulation, rtms was found to have a significant effect on hallucinations and negative symptoms. Nevertheless, the results of some studies were variable and some studies did not report any improvement. There are indications that some factors such as age and distance between scalp and cortex may influence efficiency. There were only a few studies relating to the use of tdcs and none of these reported a clear effect.
conclusion There is reasonable evidence that rtms is an efficient treatment for hallucinations and negative symptoms, although some variable results have been reported. There is insufficient evidence for conclusions to be drawn about the efficacy of tdcs for the treatment of hallucinations and negative symptoms. However, both simulation methods are safe and largely without side-effects.

keywords auditory verbal hallucinations, negative symptoms, non-invasive stimulation