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Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 1;70(1):7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.01.041. Epub 2011 May 6.

Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia II: developing imaging biomarkers to enhance treatment development for schizophrenia and related disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, California, USA.


The Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative, funded by an R13 from the National Institute of Mental Health, seeks to enhance translational research in treatment development for impaired cognition in schizophrenia by developing tools from cognitive neuroscience into useful measures of treatment effects on behavior and brain function. An initial series of meetings focused on the selection of a new set of tasks from cognitive neuroscience for the measurement of treatment effects on specific cognitive and neural systems. Subsequent validation and optimization studies are underway and a subset of validated measures with well-characterized psychometric properties will be generally available in 2011. This article describes results of the first meeting of the second phase of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia, which seeks to develop imaging biomarkers and improved animal models to enhance translational research. In this meeting, we considered issues related to the use of methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic simulation as biomarkers for treatment development. We explored the biological nature of the signals measured by each method, their validity and reliability as measures of cognition-related neural activity, potential confounds related to drug effects on the signal of interest, and conceptual, methodological, and pragmatic issues related to their use in preclinical, first into human, and multicenter phase II and III studies. This overview article describes the background and goals of the meeting together with a summary of the major issues discussed in more detail in the accompanying articles appearing in this issue of Biological Psychiatry.

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