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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2000 Mar;25(2):117-24.

Treating cognitive dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.


Cognitive dysfunction is a common, chronically disabling component of schizophrenia. It has been proposed that many of the symptoms of schizophrenia can be understood as a result of disruption of fundamental cognitive processes. This paper reviews treatment strategies aimed at improving cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia. Nonpharmacologic interventions include instruction in the performance of tasks such as the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Mixed results have been achieved, but it appears that instruction methods involving reinforcement of information held in working memory are more successful. Computer-aided remediation has also been used with variable success. Novel antipsychotic drugs appear to have an advantage over conventional antipsychotic drugs in terms of their effect on cognitive function. The development of more precisely tailored methods of remedial teaching, along with optimal pharmacologic treatment, may lead to more effective treatment of cognitive dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia.

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