Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2013 Dec;11(3):118-125.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Schizophrenia

Affiliations
  • 1The Schizophrenia Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Translational Psychiatry Laboratory, Neurobiology Research Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India. venkat.nimhans@yahoo.com

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an upcoming treatment modality for patients with schizophrenia. A series of recent observations have demonstrated improvement in clinical status of schizophrenia patients with tDCS. This review summarizes the research work that has examined the effects of tDCS in schizophrenia patients with respect to symptom amelioration, cognitive enhancement and neuroplasticity evaluation. tDCS is emerging as a safe, rapid and effective treatment for various aspects of schizophrenia symptoms ranging from auditory hallucinations-for which the effect is most marked, to negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms as well. An interesting line of investigation involves using tDCS for altering and examining neuroplasticity in patients and healthy subjects and is likely to lead to new insights into the neurological aberrations and pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The mechanistic aspects of the technique are discussed in brief. Future work should focus on establishing the clinical efficacy of this novel technique and on evaluating this modality as an adjunct to cognitive enhancement protocols. Understanding the mechanism of action of tDCS as well as the determinants and neurobiological correlates of clinical response to tDCS remains an important goal, which will help us expand the clinical applications of tDCS for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia.

Keyword

Transcranial direct current stimulation; Auditory hallucinations; Cortical plasticity; Schizophrenia
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