NARSAD Grant-Funded TMS Now Found Effective in Treating Schizophrenia Symptoms

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation used generally to treat depression, is now being used to treat schizophrenia symptoms
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto, led by Zafiris J. Daskalakis, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP(C), three-time NARSAD Grantee and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, recently discovered that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a new kind of non-invasive brain stimulation, can improve memory impairments in patients with schizophrenia. Until now, TMS has been used to effectively treat depression and other psychiatric and neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and migraines, but not schizophrenia. These research findings were reported in a recent issue of Biological Psychiatry.

TMS was developed by Scientific Council member Dr. Mark George from the Medical University of South Carolina as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for treatment-resistant depression with the help of a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant in 1995. Following this initial grant funding, he subsequently received numerous NIH, Department of Defense and VA awards totaling several millions of dollars that enabled him to continue the development of this exciting and important next generation therapy. TMS was approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression in 2008.

“TMS can have lasting effects on brain circuit function because this approach not only changes the activity of the circuit that is being stimulated, but it also may change the plasticity of that circuit, i.e., the capacity of the circuit to remodel itself functionally and structurally to support cognitive functions,” explained Dr. John Krystal, Foundation Scientific Council member and Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

This research team also included four other NARSAD Grantees: Drs. Tarek K. Rajji, Aristotle N. Voineskos, Daniel M. Blumberger and Paul B. Fitzgerald.

Learn more about this new schizophrenia research

Learn more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in our “25 Years of Breakthroughs” Timeline

Watch Dr. Mark George present “New Ways to Stimulate the Brain for Depression” – a Meet the Scientist Webinar from September, 2012.