Iris Sommer, Professor in psychiatry at the UMC Utrecht describes in a video at www.volkskrant.nl/akademie a schizophrenic man who told her about the terrible voices in his head. To figure out what happened in his brain during these hallucinations, she made several MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. It turned out that in patients with hallucinations also the language areas in the right half of the brain become active. In healthy people usually only those areas in the left half of the brain are active.

She further explains that these areas and the voices in the head can be influenced in a variety of ways, e.g., by means of TMS, transcranial (through-the-skull) magnetic stimulation. Unfortunately, TMS is not always effective and psychiatrists are on the lookout for alternatives. 

I would say that this is another area where neurostimulation can come to the rescue. In the (often successful) treatment of tinnitus, patients are first exposed to TMS to check whether neurostimulation, in this case, electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex, can possibly be an effective treatment for them. Once indeed the level/severity of tinnitus can be influenced by TMS, neurostimulation becomes a logical next step for permanent treatment of the tinnitus.

Now it is just a matter of convincing the other voices in my head that this is indeed the right way…


One response to “Hallucinations

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