Scientists have recently been able to identify the location in the brain that is involved in ‘hearing voices.’ This is what we consider to be a breakthrough find as it could mean some wonderful things for people dealing with these issues.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe disabling mental health disorder. It wreaks havoc on a person’s mind and ruins their relationships with the world outside of their brain. It involved deficits in the thought process, emotional responses, and perceptions. Sadly, this is a mental illness that affects around 1.1 percent of people here in the United States. Yes, that is around 3.6 million people.
Around 70 percent of all people who have schizophrenia experience what is known as AVH or Auditory Verbal Hallucinations. These are the voices that they hear that are not really there. In the research mentioned above, scientists used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to target magnetic pulses in the brain. TMS is something that has been effective in treating several psychiatric conditions and now that the area of the brain where these AVH’s come from is known it may also be able to help with eliminating them.
These researchers were working with 33 control patients who received a placebo treatment and 26 patients who received active TMS treatment. Targeting the locating seems to have proven quite effective for some patients. These pulses were trained on the place where two parts of the brain cross: the projection of the left lateral sulcus’ ascending branch and the left superior temporal sulcus.
After being evaluated during and after a several week long process the team found that 34.6 percent of these patients showed a significant response to this sort of treatment. While these results may not seem like much now they are a step in the right direction. This sort of study is crucial for the development of a treatment that will work.
In a press release lead researcher for this study Sonia Dollfus of the University of Caen France had this to say:
“This is the first controlled trial to precisely determine an anatomically defined brain area where high-frequency magnetic pulses can improve the hearing of voices.”
“This means two things; firstly, it seems that we now can say with some certainty that we have found a specific anatomical area of the brain associated with auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. Secondly, we have shown that treatment with high-frequency TMS makes a difference on at least some sufferers, although there is a long way to go before we will know if TMS is the best route to treat these patients in the long-run.”
What do you think about these findings? I, for one, am quite excited to see where this goes. To better understand what goes on inside the mind of a schizophrenic check out the video below.