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Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;167(2):170-80. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09020264. Epub 2009 Dec 15.

A randomized, controlled trial of computer-assisted cognitive remediation for schizophrenia.

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Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, VISN 5, VA Medical Center, Suite 6A (BT/MIRECC), 10 North Greene St., Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



There is considerable interest in cognitive remediation for schizophrenia, but its essential components are still unclear. The goal of the current study was to develop a broadly targeted computer-assisted cognitive remediation program and conduct a rigorous clinical trial in a large group of schizophrenia patients.


Sixty-nine people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were randomly assigned to 36 sessions of computer-assisted cognitive remediation or an active control condition. Remediation broadly targeted cognitive and everyday performance by providing supportive, graduated training and practice in selecting, executing, and monitoring cognitive operations. It used engaging computer-based cognitive exercises and one-on-one training. A total of 61 individuals (34 in remediation group, 27 in control group) engaged in treatment, completed posttreatment assessments, and were included in intent-to-treat analyses. Primary outcomes were remediation exercise metrics, neuropsychological composites (episodic memory, working memory, attention, executive functioning, and processing speed), and proxy measures of community functioning.


Regression modeling indicated that performance on eight of 10 exercise metrics improved significantly more in the remediation condition than in the control condition. The mean effect size, favoring the remediation condition, was 0.53 across all 10 metrics. However, there were no significant benefits of cognitive remediation on any neuropsychological or functional outcome measure, either immediately after treatment or at the 3-month follow-up.


Cognitive remediation for people with schizophrenia was effective in improving performance on computer exercises, but the benefits of training did not generalize to broader neuropsychological or functional outcome measures. The evidence for this treatment approach remains mixed.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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