Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with schizophrenia. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces neuromodulative therapeutic effects that are being evaluated.
The primary options for treatment of schizophrenia include medication.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive – and perhaps more effective – alternative to conventional therapy. Focused ultrasound carries less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary. While significant work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
A clinical trial in New York is treating patients with schizophrenia.
A clinical trial in China is treating patients with at least moderate levels of schizophrenia.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for schizophrenia is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Pan TY, Pan YJ, Tsai SJ, Tsai CW, Yang FY. Focused Ultrasound Stimulates the Prefrontal Cortex and Prevents MK-801-Induced Psychiatric Symptoms of Schizophrenia in Rats. Schizophr Bull. 2023 Jun 11:sbad078. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbad078. PMID: 37301986
Hugdahl K, Sommer IE. Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in Schizophrenia From a Levels of Explanation Perspective. Schizophr Bull. 2018 Feb 15;44(2):234-241. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbx142.
Click here for additional references from PubMed.