An Integrated Neuroimaging Approach to Inform Transcranial Electrical Stimulation Targeting in Visual Hallucinations [Review]

SOURCE: Harvard Review of Psychiatry. 30(3):181-190, 2022 May-Jun 01.

AUTHORS: Raymond N; Reinhart RMG; Keshavan M; Lizano P

ABSTRACT: For decades, noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS), such as transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), has been used to directly modulate human brain mechanisms of visual perception, setting the groundwork for the development of novel circuit-based therapies. While the field of NIBS has grown considerably over recent years, few studies have used these technologies to treat visual hallucinations (VH). Here, we review the NIBS-VH literature and find mixed results due to shortcomings that may potentially be addressed with a unique multimodal neuroimaging-NIBS approach. We highlight methodological advances in NIBS research that have provided researchers with more precise anatomical measurements that may improve our ability to influence brain activity.
Specifically, we propose a methodology that combines neuroimaging advances, clinical neuroscience developments such as the identification of brain regions causally involved in VH, and personalized NIBS approaches that improve anatomical targeting. This methodology may enable us to reconcile existing discrepancies in tES-VH research and pave the way for more effective, VH-specific protocols for treating a number of neuropsychiatric disorders with VH as a core symptom.