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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jun 30;192(3):160-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.12.004. Epub 2011 May 2.

How can cognitive remediation therapy modulate brain activations in schizophrenia? An fMRI study.

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Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69003, France.


Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) is a non biological treatment that aims to correct cognitive deficits through repeated exercises. Its efficacy in patients with schizophrenia is well recognized, but little is known about its effect on cerebral activity. Our aim was to explore the impact of CRT on cerebral activation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in patients with schizophrenia. Seventeen patients and 15 healthy volunteers were recruited. Patients were divided into two groups: one group received CRT with Rehacom® software (n=8), while a control group of patients (non-CRT group) received no additional treatment (n=9). The three groups underwent two fMRI sessions with an interval of 3months: they had to perform a verbal and a spatial n-back task at the same performance level. Patients were additionally clinically and cognitively assessed before and after the study. After CRT, the CRT group exhibited brain over-activations in the left inferior/middle frontal gyrus, cingulate gyrus and inferior parietal lobule for the spatial task. Similar but nonsignificant over-activations were observed in the same brain regions for the verbal task. Moreover, CRT patients significantly improved their behavioural performance in attention and reasoning capacities. We conclude that CRT leads to measurable physiological adaptation associated with improved cognitive ability. Trial name: Cognitive Remediation Theraphy and Schizophrenia.



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