The puzzle of schizophrenia: Tracking the core role of cognitive deficits

Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6968, USA.
Development and Psychopathology (Impact Factor: 4.89). 05/2012; 24(2):529-36. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579412000132
Source: PubMed


Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are increasingly accepted as core features of this disorder that play a role as vulnerability indicators, as enduring abnormalities during clinical remission, and as critical rate-limiting factors in functional recovery. This article demonstrates the lasting influence of Norman Garmezy through his impact on one graduate student and then through his later collaborative research with colleagues. The promise of core cognitive deficits as vulnerability indicators or endophenotypes was demonstrated in research with children born to a parent with schizophrenia as well as with biological parents and siblings of individuals with schizophrenia. In studies of patients with a recent onset of schizophrenia, cognitive deficits were found to endure across psychotic and clinically remitted periods and to have a strong predictive influence on likelihood of returning successfully to work or school. Converging lines of evidence for the enduring core role of cognitive deficit in schizophrenia have led in recent years to a burgeoning interest in developing new interventions that target cognition as a means of improving functional recovery in this disorder.

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Available from: Joseph Ventura, May 12, 2014
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    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2012; 3:624. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00624 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of cognitive training in improving trained and untrained cognitive processes in schizophrenia. Methods: A simple pre- and post experimental study with a three month follow-up was conducted to determine the efficacy of cognitive training in speed of processing and executive functions improving cognition in 22 schizophrenia patients. Results: Significant improvement was found in those cognitive domains specifically targeted in the training protocol, but also to a limited extent on verbal memory and social cognition. There was also evidence of improvements in symptoms and social functioning. The training effects failed to transfer to community functioning skills however. Except for social cognition, these improvements were maintained at 3month follow-up. Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of understanding the mechanisms that contribute to the transfer of skills as well as the maintenance of cognitive changes in individuals with schizophrenia.
    Comprehensive psychiatry 04/2013; 54(7). DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.03.015 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    04/2013, Degree: Ph.D, Supervisor: Maria Victoria Perea; Manuel Franco; Vicente Molina
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