Pulsing a magnetic field into the brain can temporarily reduce or stop the imaginary voices heard by schizophrenic patients, Yale researchers reported at the May meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington. The investigational treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), involves placing an electromagnetic coil on the scalp, then turning current on and off to create a pulsing magnetic field which is directed at the temporo-parietal cortex. This brain region plays a critical role in processing speech. Half of the study’s 12 participants reported clinically significant reductions in their hallucinations following TMS. These improvements were sustained for periods ranging from several days to six weeks. The study is continuing with an additional 20 patients, said Ralph Hoffman, M.D., deputy medical director of the Yale Psychiatric Institute, who led the study. “Patients will get a more extended course of TMS. Starting this summer we are going to be doing our own neuroimaging studies to better understand what TMS is doing in the brain,” Hoffman said.