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

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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.

Article comments

I have identical twin sons with a fraternal triplet daughter all diagnosed with schizophrenia and doing well, not having the positive symptoms. However, would they be able to participate in a study where they could receive TMS. Their cognitive skills have suffered and they are frustrated by such. My email is
Please reply. Thank you.

My daughter has had schizophrenia since 19 years old and is attending a university now. She has great difficulty with studying and testing. how could she receive TMS in our area, which is Orange County in California?
thank you, my email is

The Brain Treament Center is located in Newport, CA. I don't know if they treat Schizophrenia but they treat a variety of other conditions with TMS including autism, depression, tinnitus, drug addiction, to name a few. Here is their address if you're still looking for a facility:

The Brain Treatment Center
1601 Dove Street
Suite 299
Newport Beach, CA 92660
ph.# 949-851-8072

Best wishes,
D. Stewart

My mother started having symptoms after my father passed away. She was in her 40's I've heard this is rare. It's been a horrible battle where we were unable to control her we had no choice but to have her commited. She is out, and blames us for putting her in there. She went back to her horrible new husband, and only sometimes takes her medication. We have no relationship at all anymore. When I do see her she doesn't make any sense and her hygiene is not very good. I've tried to get her to take her meds, but it's hard when she refuses and her husband won't make her. I just wish I had my mother back, and my children knew their grandmother. I would love for her to try this TMS treatment!

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Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
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