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Schizophrenia Research is Leading the Way in Cognitive Remediation

As announced by the NIMH a few months ago, schiz­o­phre­nia can now be con­sid­ered as a brain dis­or­der. Research is focus­ing on the cog­ni­tive deficits as the main prob­lem of the dis­or­der, prob­a­bly pre­ced­ing and per­haps lead­ing to the symp­toms of hal­lu­ci­na­tions and delu­sions.

A recent arti­cle in the Psy­chi­atric Times reviews the dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion tech­niques used with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from schiz­o­phre­nia. This is of inter­est to any­body work­ing on men­tal health. Indeed, as Sophia Vino­gradov, Inter­im Vice Chair Psy­chi­a­try at UCSF will dis­cuss dur­ing the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (next week!) schiz­o­phre­nia is lead­ing the way in under­stand­ing how to iden­ti­fy and address brain-based cog­ni­tive deficits asso­ci­at­ed with the dis­or­der.

…most [Cog­ni­tive Reme­di­a­tion (CR) pro­grams] are now com­put­er­ized. Some  pro­grams use a mix of gen­er­al edu­ca­tion­al soft­ware, but many train par­tic­i­pants with spe­cial­ized com­put­er soft­ware designed to improve cog­ni­tion.

Most CR pro­grams aim to improve the cog­ni­tive domains usu­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with deficits in schizophrenia—for instance ver­bal and visu­al work­ing mem­o­ry, exec­u­tive func­tion, atten­tion, and pro­cess­ing speed.

CR has been demon­strat­ed to improve over­all (glob­al) cog­ni­tion as well as spe­cif­ic domains, includ­ing atten­tion, exec­u­tive func­tion, work­ing mem­o­ry, ver­bal learn­ing and mem­o­ry, pro­cess­ing speed, and affect recog­ni­tion.

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