Improving Visual Hallucinations by Targeting the Visual Cortex With Electrical Stimulation: A Feasibility Study

Trial Information
Status: Enrolling by invitation
Location: See location...
Intervention Type: Device
Study Type: Interventional
Study Phase: Not Applicable

The visual system has increasingly been recognized as an important site of injury in patients with schizophrenia and other psychoses. Visual system alterations manifest as visual perceptual aberrations, deficits in visual processing, and visual hallucinations. These visual symptoms are associated with worse symptoms, poorer outcome and resistance to treatment. A recent study using brain lesion mapping of visual hallucinations and identified a causal location in the part of the brain that processes visual information (visual cortex). The association between visual cortex activation and visual hallucinations suggests that this region could be targeted using noninvasive brain stimulation. Two case studies have found that brain stimulation to the visual cortex improved visual hallucinations in treatment resistant patients with psychosis. While promising it is unclear whether these symptom reductions resulted from activity changes in the visual cortex or not. Here we aim to answer the question whether noninvasive brain stimulation when optimally targeted to the visual cortex can improve brain activity, visual processing and visual hallucinations. The knowledge gained from this study will contribute to the field of vision by providing a marker for clinical response and by personalizing treatment for patients with psychosis suffering from visual symptoms. This grant will allow us to set the foundation for a larger more targeted study utilizing noninvasive brain stimulation to improve visual symptoms in patients with psychosis.

Am I eligible for this trial?
Participation Requirements
Minimum Age:
Maximum Age:
Healthy Volunteers:

• meet diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or psychotic bipolar disorder as verified by the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV TR) and consensus clinical diagnosis;

• had no changes to relevant anti-psychotic medications for a period of 1 month prior to participation;

• had a sufficient level of English to allow participation.

Where is this trial taking place?
United States
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
When is this trial taking place?
Start Date: October 1, 2020
Estimated Completion Date: September 30, 2021
How many participants will be in this trial?
Target number of participants: 10
What treatment is being studied in this trial?
Experimental: cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
Two, twenty minute sessions of cathodal tDCS to the bilateral extrastriate visual cortex for 5 days (10 total sessions).
Experimental: Anodal transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS)
Two, twenty minute sessions of anodal tACS delta phase aligned for 5 days (10 total sessions).
Who are the authors of this trial?

This content was sourced from

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