Virtual reality can help treat symptoms in patients with psychosis, according to a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
GameChangeVR automates psychotherapy, guiding users with a virtual coach. It was developed by OxfordVR, a digital therapeutics company, the University of Oxford and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust … The study, based on 346 patients, found that automated VR therapy led to “significant reductions” in symptoms of anxious avoidance and distress. The technology especially benefited those with severe symptoms. The study concluded that the technology has the potential to increase access to effective care for psychosis. [Read more…] about Study: Automated VR psychotherapy can help reduce anxiety and distress, especially among those with psychosis and severe agoraphobia
Does Marijuana Use Cause Schizophrenia? (The New York Times):
“… The concern is focused largely on the link between heavy usage and psychosis in young people. Doctors first suspected a link some 70 years ago, and the evidence has only accumulated since then. In a forthcoming book, “Tell Your Children,” Alex Berenson, a former Times reporter, argues that legalization is putting a generation at higher risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic syndromes. Critics, including leading researchers, have called the argument overblown, and unfaithful to the science [Read more…] about Does marijuana use cause schizophrenia? (unclear, but unlikely)
“A new study from King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has shown for the first time that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) strengthens specific connections in the brains of people with psychosis, and that these stronger connections are associated with long-term reduction in symptoms and recovery eight years later. [Read more…] about Study: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), not medication, drives long-term rewiring of the brain to help reduce psychosis symptoms
(Editor’s Note: given the growing media attention to three apparently separate worlds ‑cognitive enhancement via drugs, brain fitness training software, computerized neurocognitive assessments‑, I found it refreshing to see our co-founder Elkhonon Goldberg introduce the topic of cognotropic drugs with an integrative perspective in the much updated new edition of his classic book, now titled The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes In A Complex World. Below goes an excerpt).
For many neuropsychologists, like myself, science is a labor of love, but seeing patients is bread and butter. Traditionally, the clinical contribution of neuropsychology has been mostly diagnostic, with precious little to offer patients by way of treatment. Neuropsychology is not the only clinical discipline for years consigned to helpless voyeurism. Every discipline concerned with cognition shares this humbling predicament. A psychiatrist treating a schizophrenic patient or a depressed patient finds him- or herself in a similar position. There are ample pharmacological tools to treat the patient’s psychosis or mood, but very few to treat the patient’s cognition. Even though psychiatrists increasingly recognize that cognitive impairment is often more debilitating in their patients than psychosis or mood disorder, traditionally, very little direct effort has been aimed at improving cognition.
A neurologist treating a patient recovering from the effects of head injury does not fare much better. There are adequate means to control the patient’s seizures but not his or her cognitive changes, despite the fact that cognitive impairment is usually far more debilitating than an occasional seizure. Society has been so preoccupied with saving lives, treating hallucinations, controlling seizures, and lifting depression that cognition (memory, attention, planning, problem solving) has been largely ignored. Granted, various neuroleptics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, sedatives, and stimulants do have an effect on cognition, but it is an ancillary effect of a drug designed to treat something else.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have been society’s wake-up call. Here, in the most affluent country in the most affluent of times, human minds were succumbing to decay before human bodies, a sharp challenge to the tacit popular belief that the “body is frail but soul is forever.” This provided an impetus for the development of an entirely new class of drugs, which can be termed familially as “cognotropic.” Their primary and explicit purpose is to improve cognition.
Since medical and public preoccupation with dementia focuses on memory, most of the pharmacological efforts have been directed at improving memory. At the time of this writing, a handful of drugs known as “Alzheimer’s drugs” or “memory enhancers” have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In reality, both designations are somewhat misleading. The drugs in question are [Read more…] about Cognitive Enhancement via Pharmacology AND Neuropsychology, in The New Executive Brain