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Schizophr Bull. 1999;25(2):291-307.

The effects of neurocognitive remediation on executive processing in patients with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.

Abstract

Approaches to cognitive remediation have differed across studies. Most of the larger studies have concentrated on group treatments designed without the benefit of recent laboratory-based studies. The current study describes a randomized trial of an intensive cognitive remediation program involving individual daily sessions of 1 hour for up to 3 months. It targets executive functioning deficits (cognitive flexibility, working memory, and planning) that are known to be problematic in people with schizophrenia. Procedural learning, as well as the principles of errorless learning, targeted reinforcement, and massed practice, was the basis of the intervention. The program was compared with an alternative therapy (intensive occupational therapy) to control for some of the effects of therapeutic contact. Some improvements in cognition followed both therapies. A differential effect in favor of cognitive remediation therapy was found for tests in the cognitive flexibility and the memory subgroups. There was a trend for those receiving atypical antipsychotic medication to benefit more from cognitive remediation for tests of cognitive flexibility. Although there were no consistent changes in symptoms or social functioning between groups, if improvement in cognitive flexibility tasks reached a threshold then there is some evidence that social functioning improved, even over the short duration of the trial. In addition, cognitive remediation differentially improved self-esteem. This study supports the view that cognitive remediation can reduce cognitive deficits and that this reduction may affect social outcome, at least in the short term.

PMID:
10416732
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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