Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cognitive Remediation Therapy May Be Useful in Early-Onset Schizophrenia, Study Shows


Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) appears to be an effective intervention for adolescents having cognitive impairments associated with early-onset schizophrenia (EOS), according to a report published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Researchers in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Spain's conducted a randomized, controlled trial of individually delivered CRT plus treatment-as-usual compared with treatment-as-usual (TAU) alone. Fifty adolescents with EOS were randomly assigned to receive CRT or TAU. The researchers used a manualized model of CRT, a strategy-learning program involving tasks of progressive complexity implemented on an individual basis, using mainly paper-and-pencil tasks. Clinical symptoms and cognitive and functional performance were assessed before and after treatment in both groups and after three months in the CRT group. Cognitive domains were defined according to the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) consensus battery and averaged in a global cognitive composite score.

After CRT, significant improvements were found in verbal memory and executive functions, with medium-to-large effect sizes. This change was reliable in more than two-thirds of treated patients. Medium effect sizes were found for improvements after CRT in daily living and adaptive functioning, while large effect sizes were observed for improvements in family burden. With the exception of functional gains, these changes were maintained after three months. “Cognitive improvements can be achieved through CRT, although further research is warranted to determine the durability of functional gains,” the researchers state.

To read more about cognitive remediation in patients with mental illness, see the Psychiatric News article, "Cognitive Training Augments Benefits of Supported Employment."

(Image: pogonici/shutterstock.com)


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