For those who do suffer from their inner voices, researchers are trying to fi nd ways of hushing them. Antipsychotic medications work for some but not all patients. As an alternative, Ralph E. Hoffman and his co-workers at the Yale University School of Medicine have investigated the potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a technique by which they can decrease brain activity in certain regions using magnetic fields. They have applied TMS to the regions involved in speech processing. In 2000 they suppressed acoustic hallucinations in 12 schizophrenic patients by decreasing the arousability of the temporoparietal cortex. In a follow-up study in 2005 they treated 50 patients for nine days with low-frequency impulses and found that verbal hallucinations decreased markedly in more than half the patients—an effect that lasted for at least three months.
The occurrence of hallucinations varies with age and race, according to a survey of the public in England and Wales. Louise C. Johns of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and her colleagues reviewed data from 2,867 whites and 5,196 members of minority ethnic groups.
Hallucinations were most common among teens in the white sample but among those in their 20s and 50s in the Caribbean group. In the South Asian sample, prevalence varied only very little by age. Overall, 4 percent of whites reported hearing or seeing things. In comparison, rates were 2.5 times higher among Caribbeans and half as much among South Asians.
|SOURCE : |
“OCCURRENCE OF HALLUCINATORY EXPERIENCES IN A COMMUNIT Y SAMPLE AND ETHNIC VARIATIONS,”
BY L . C. JOHNS, J . Y. NAZROO, P. BEBBINGTON AND E . KUIPERS IN BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY,
VOL. 180; 2002
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