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Neurobiological effects of cognitive remediation in schizophrenia

In this study 15 drug-naïve first episode subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia were randomized to receive either atypical antipsychotics (AP, n = 8) or atypical antipsychotics in combination with cognitive remediation therapy (AP + CR, n = 7), 11 subjects had a follow-up fMRI examination after therapy (AP, n = 5; AP + CR, n = 6).

They gave 15 first-episode patients either antipsychotics and cognitive remediation, or just antipsychotics. Then they did fMRIs.

In 4 of the 6 AP + CR subjects the number of activation clusters increased, whereas in 4 out of the 5 AP subjects the number of clusters decreased (mean number of clusters: AP + CR = 5.53, SD 12.79, AP = -5.8, SD 6.9).

Conclusion: In this randomized study the number of activation clusters during a working memory task increased after cognitive remediation training. Our data show that neurobiological effects of cognitive remediation can be identified in the very early course of schizophrenia.

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