Restoring reality: Training improves brain activation and behavior in schizophrenia
A pioneering new study finds that a specific type of computerized cognitive training can lead to significant neural and behavioral improvements in individuals with schizophrenia. The research, published by Cell Press in the February 23 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals that 16 weeks of intensive cognitive training is also associated with improved social functioning several months later and may have far-reaching implications for improving the quality of life for patients suffering from neuropsychiatric illness.
Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric illness that is associated with severe clinical symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, as well as substantial social and cognitive deficits. "Schizophrenia patients struggle with 'reality monitoring,' the ability to separate the inner world from the outer reality," states senior author, Dr. Sophia Vinogradov. "Although there are drugs that reduce the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia, current medications do not improve cognitive deficits. In addition, conventional psychotherapy has not proven to be successful, and there is a pressing need for new therapeutic strategies."
In the current study, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, took a unique approach to enhancing behavior and brain activation in individuals with schizophrenia. "We predicted that in order to improve complex cognitive functions in neuropsychiatric illness, we must initially target impairments in lower-level perceptual processes, as well as higher-order working memory and social cognitive processes," explains senior study author, Dr. Srikantan Nagarajan.
The first author, Dr. Karuna Subramaniam, who conducted the study and analyzed the data, found that when compared with pretraining assessments, schizophrenia patients who received 80 hours of computerized training (over 16 weeks) exhibited improvements in their ability to perform complex reality-monitoring tasks, which were associated with increased activation of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). The mPFC is a critical brain region that supports successful reality-monitoring processes. "We found that the level of mPFC activation was also linked with better social functioning six months after training," says Dr. Subramaniam. "In contrast, patients in a control group who played computer games for 80 hours did not show any improvements, demonstrating that the behavioral and neural improvements were specific to the computerized training patient group."
"Our study is the first to demonstrate that neuroscience-informed cognitive training can lead to more 'normal' brain-behavior associations in patients with schizophrenia, which in turn predict better social functioning months later," concludes Dr. Vinogradov. "These findings raise the exciting likelihood that the neural impairments in schizophreniaand undoubtedly other neuropsychiatric illnessesare not immutably fixed, but instead may be amenable to well-designed interventions that target restoration of neural system functioning."
More information: Subramaniam et al.: Computerized cognitive training restores neural activity within the reality monitoring network in schizophrenia. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.12.024
Provided by Cell Press
- Researchers demonstrate link between brain chemical, cognitive decline in schizophrenia Mar 10, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- New way to help schizophrenia sufferers' social skills Sep 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Can one model the social deficits of autism and schizophrenia in animals? May 05, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- L-lysine may help schizophrenia sufferers cope Apr 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Combining medication and psychosocial treatments may benefit patients with early-stage schizophrenia Sep 06, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
15 hours ago I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
Genetic variations within and between populations
May 12, 2013 This paper (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1893020/) asserts these two different conclusions: ---Quote--- Thus the answer to the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience 40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
Neuroscience 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
Neuroscience 12 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on the lives of sufferers and their families.
Neuroscience 17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Neuroscience May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 0 |
(AP)—A woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease has been fitted with prosthetic hands.
35 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
9 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
In order to avoid harms associated with alcohol consumption, in 2009 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism issued guidelines that define low-risk drinking. These guidelines differ for men and women: no more ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Treatment for alcohol use disorders works best if the patient actively understands and incorporates the interventions provided in the clinic. Multiple factors can influence both the type and degree of neurocognitive abnormalities ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Few randomized clinical trials have been done to assess clinical prediction rules for patients with lower back pain, and the trials that have been done are of low quality and do not provide ...
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |