Using Cortical Non-Invasive Neuromodulation as a Potential Preventive Treatment in Schizophrenia – A review [Review]

Source: Brain Stimulation. 14(3):643-651, 2021 May-Jun.

Authors: Edemann-Callesen H; Winter C; Hadar R

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that schizophrenia constitutes a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by a gradual emergence of behavioral and neurobiological abnormalities over time. Therefore, applying early interventions to prevent later manifestation of symptoms is appealing.

OBJECTIVE: This review focuses on the use of cortical neuromodulation in schizophrenia and its potential as a preventive treatment approach. We present clinical and preclinical findings investigating the use of neuromodulation in schizophrenia, including the current research focusing on cortical non-invasive stimulation and its possibility as a future preventive treatment.

METHODS: We performed a search in Medline (PubMed) in September 2020 using a combination of relevant medical subject headings (MeSH) and text words. The search included human and preclinical trials as well as existing systematic reviews and meta-analysis. There were no restrictions on language or the date of publication.

RESULTS: Neurodevelopmental animal models may be used to investigate how the disease progresses and thus which brain areas ideally should be targeted at a given time point. Here, abnormalities of the prefrontal cortex have been often identified as an early and persistent impairment in schizophrenia. Currently there is insufficient evidence to either support or refute the use of neuromodulation to the cortex in adult patients with already manifested symptoms. However, preclinical results show that early non-invasive neuromodulation to the prefrontal cortex of adolescent animals, sufficiently prevents later psychosis-relevant abnormalities in
adulthood. This points to the promising potential of cortical non-invasive neuromodulation as a preventive treatment when applied early in the course of the disease.