Adjunct high-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation over the lateral prefrontal cortex improves negative symptoms of schizophrenia: A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled pilot study.
J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Oct 16;132:151-160
Authors: Chang CC, Lin YY, Tzeng NS, Kao YC, Chang HA
High-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (hf-tRNS) is a non-invasive neuromodulatory technique capable of increasing human cortex excitability. There were only published case reports on the use of hf-tRNS targeting the lateral prefrontal cortex in treating negative symptoms of schizophrenia, thus necessitating systematic investigation. We designed a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial in a cohort of stabilized schizophrenia patients to examine the efficacy of add-on hf-tRNS (100-640 Hz; 2 mA; 20 min) using a high definition 4 × 1 electrode montage (anode AF3, cathodes AF4, F2, F6, and FC4) in treating negative symptoms (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT04038788). Participants received either active hf-tRNS or sham twice daily for 5 consecutive weekdays. Primary outcome measure was the change over time in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale Factor Score for Negative Symptoms (PANSS-FSNS), which was measured at baseline, after 10-session stimulation, and at one-week and one-month follow-ups. Among 36 randomized patients, 35 (97.2%) completed the trial. Intention-to-treat analysis showed a significantly greater decrease in PANSS-FSNS score after active (-17.11%) than after sham stimulation (-1.68%), with a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 2.16, p < 0.001). The beneficial effect lasted for up to one month. In secondary-outcome analyses, the authors observed improvements with hf-tRNS of disorganization symptoms, unawareness of negative symptoms, subjective response to taking antipsychotics, and antipsychotic-induced extrapyramidal symptoms. No effects were observed on the neurocognitive performance and other outcome measures. Overall, hf-tRNS was safe and efficacious in improving negative symptoms. Our promising findings should be confirmed in a larger sample of patients with predominant negative symptoms.
PMID: 33096356 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]