Thursday 20 September 2018

Brain boffins find method to stop patients from hearing false 'voices'

A screenshot from a video issued by Kings College London of a rocket in a space game, as scientists believe that they have made a breakthrough in treating schizophrenia by helping patients train themselves to control verbal hallucinations using an MRI scanner and a computer game. Photo: Kings College London/PA
A screenshot from a video issued by Kings College London of a rocket in a space game, as scientists believe that they have made a breakthrough in treating schizophrenia by helping patients train themselves to control verbal hallucinations using an MRI scanner and a computer game. Photo: Kings College London/PA

Jennifer Cockerell in London

Scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in treating schizophrenia by helping patients train themselves to control verbal hallucinations using an MRI scanner and a computer game.

A pilot study has suggested the technique can help patients who experience hallucinations but do not respond to medication.

They said their research shows sufferers can learn mental strategies to help ease their symptoms. The study involved 12 patients who heard voices on a daily basis.

Around 70pc of people with schizophrenia hear voices and medication is ineffective for around 30pc of patients.

Brain-imaging experts targeted a region of the brain which is sensitive to speech and human voices and hyperactive in people with schizophrenia and verbal hallucinations.

Dr Natasza Orlov of King's College, London said: "Patients know when the voices are about to start - they can feel it, so we want them to immediately put this aid into effect."

Irish Independent

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