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Neuroimage Clin. 2015 Mar 20;7:807-14. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.03.010. eCollection 2015.

Targeted training modifies oscillatory brain activity in schizophrenia patients.

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Department of Psychology, University Konstanz, PO Box 905, Konstanz D-78457, Germany.
Department of Psychology, UCLA, 1257D Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA ; Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA, 1257D Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.


Effects of both domain-specific and broader cognitive remediation protocols have been reported for neural activity and overt performance in schizophrenia (SZ). Progress is limited by insufficient knowledge of relevant neural mechanisms. Addressing neuronal signal resolution in the auditory system as a mechanism contributing to cognitive function and dysfunction in schizophrenia, the present study compared effects of two neuroplasticity-based training protocols targeting auditory-verbal or facial affect discrimination accuracy and a standard rehabilitation protocol on magnetoencephalographic (MEG) oscillatory brain activity in an auditory paired-click task. SZ were randomly assigned to either 20 daily 1-hour sessions over 4 weeks of auditory-verbal training (N = 19), similarly intense facial affect discrimination training (N = 19), or 4 weeks of treatment as usual (TAU, N = 19). Pre-training, the 57 SZ showed smaller click-induced posterior alpha power modulation than did 28 healthy comparison participants, replicating Popov et al. (2011b). Abnormally small alpha decrease 300-800 ms around S2 improved more after targeted auditory-verbal training than after facial affect training or TAU. The improvement in oscillatory brain dynamics with training correlated with improvement on a measure of verbal learning. Results replicate previously reported effects of neuroplasticity-based psychological training on oscillatory correlates of auditory stimulus differentiation, encoding, and updating and indicate specificity of cortical training effects.


Alpha oscillations; BFP, Brain Fitness Program; Brain dynamics; CRT, cognitive remediation treatment; Cognitive training; FAT, facial affect training; HC, healthy comparison participants; MEG, magnetoencephalography; Neuroplasticity; Paired-click; SZ, schizophrenia patients; Schizophrenia

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