Schizophrenia News: July 2013

  • Schizophrenia News: July 2013


    One of the most critical factors in achieving successful employment for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia is social cognition: the ability to understand and appropriately respond to social interactions.


    Felice Reddy, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science at UCLA led a research study presented in a poster session on this topic at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Orlando, Fla.


    The findings confirmed social cognition is more important than basic neurocognition and clinical symptoms.

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    Investigator Reddy, Robert Kern, Ph.D., and colleagues analyzed data on 74 veterans (68 men, six women) who met SCID-based DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.  The participants were enrolled in the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center's supported-employment program.


    Thirty-nine percent of the study participants got competitive jobs or were involved in transitional work experiences.  Only 50 percent of those who obtained work maintained employment for longer than 10 weeks.


    Certain employers interviewed revealed the individuals do the work OK but they don't interact with other workers or supervisors.  The study participants revealed that the work is OK but they don't feel comfortable around their co-workers and don't want to talk to their supervisor.


    Researcher Reddy suggests integrating cognitive remediation and social cognition training into treatment with patients more often because these techniques are not widely used.


    This treatment needs to be linked to real work experience the patient encounters. and done on an ongoing basis with a provider that knows the patient well.


    (Social Cognition is Crucial to Employment in Schizophrenia, retrieved on July 12, 2013 from . . .)


    In a related account:


    A 5-year catamnestic study in schizophrenia patients indicates cognitive remediation improves cognition and good cognitive performance increases time to relapse.


    Sixty patients were tracked over a period of five years.  Thirty of them received computer-assisted cognitive training.  The other thirty received occupational therapy.


    A subsample of 55 patients was traced over a five-year period after the end of the cognitive remediation.  Their time until first relapse and time in psychosis were observed retrospectively from their medical records.


    The study indicates cognitive remediation significantly improved problem solving, memory and attention with high effect sizes.  Employment status, a post test verbal memory performance measure and a measure of executive functioning outperformed all other measures in the prediction of time to relapse.


    The research suggests cognitive remediation of neurocognitive deficits is vital because it enhances cognition directly and impacts positively on the clinical course indirectly via improved neurocognition.


    (Cognitive remediation improves cognition and good cognitive performance increases time to relapse - result of a 5 year catamnestic study in schizophrenia patients, retrieved on July 12, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gove/pubmed/23837673)


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    Leading researchers have proposed for numerous years that cognitive deficits are linked to functional outcome and are the true hallmark of schizophrenia symptoms.




    The FDA approved Latuda to treat depression from bipolar disorder.  Latuda is the most recent schizophrenia drug to come on the market in 2010.


    For the treatment of bipolar, the drug will be used either by itself or in conjunction with other medications, such as lithium or valproate.


    Two clinical trials supported the evidence that Latuda could be used for major episodes of depression related to bipolar disorder.


    About 10.4 million Americans experience bipolar-related depression that results in mood swings.


    (Schizophrenia Drug Latuda Given FDA Approval to Treat Depression from Bipolar Disorder, retrieved on July 12, 2013 from . .)



Published On: July 22, 2013