Thursday, March 24, 2011

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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Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist

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