MANHASSET, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--There might be a new, non-pharmacological way to treat major mental health disorders like schizophrenia spectrum disorders and psychosis. Researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research have received a $3.4 million grant from Wellcome to study repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and its effects.
Already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rTMS is used to help treat people with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Now, through Wellcome’s support, Anil Malhotra, MD, co-director and professor of the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Behavioral Science, will lead a new double-blind, randomized clinical trial that will study if rTMS improves social cognitive performance of people living with schizophrenia over the course of five years. This is the first time the Feinstein Institutes received funding from Wellcome, a London-based charitable foundation which focuses on funding health research.
“There is no one silver bullet to treat mental health conditions. The success and effectiveness of rTMS have shown the potential to treat critical symptoms of schizophrenia,” said Dr. Malhotra, who is also the vice chair for research with the Department of Psychiatry at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “With the support of Wellcome, we will get a better understanding of the effectiveness of rTMS to help those with cognitive effects of illness.”
When rTMS is used, an electromagnetic coil is placed against a patient’s head. The coil delivers repetitive magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the brain that influence mood and depression. For effectiveness, the patient visits every day for several weeks.
Schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It can affect how a person thinks, feels and behaves, and symptoms can vary in each individual person. Right now, there is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be managed with medications. However, many people with schizophrenia are resistant to medication.
“Research into cognitive mechanisms and disorders is a pivotal step towards improving outcomes in behavioral health,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Through this Wellcome support, Dr. Malhotra and his team are now well positioned to discover new strategies for those patients in need.”
Wellcome supports science to solve urgent health challenges. It supports discovery research into life, health and wellbeing by taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease, climate and health.
The announcement of Dr. Malhotra’s grant comes from a larger funding effort that totals more than $16 million.
About the Feinstein Institutes
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the home of the research institutes of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Encompassing 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health system science, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we produce knowledge to cure disease, visit http://feinstein.northwell.edu and follow us on LinkedIn.