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Assessing Cognitive Health in Schizophrenia

Schizophr Res; ePub 2019 Feb 4; Biagianti, et al

Researchers recently developed and tested a suite of 10 web-based, neuroscience-informed cognitive assessments that are designed to enable the interpretation of specific deficits that could signal that an individual with schizophrenia is experiencing cognitive difficulties. Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia is often severe, enduring, and contributes significantly to chronic disability. Therefore, a standardized platform for identifying cognitive impairments and measuring treatment effects in cognition is a critical aspect of comprehensive evaluation and treatment for individuals with schizophrenia. The assessment suite assays speed of processing, sustained attention, executive functioning, learning and socio-affective processing in the auditory and visual modalities. Researchers obtained data from 283 healthy individuals who were recruited online and 104 individuals with schizophrenia who also completed formal neuropsychological testing. The data show that the assessments:

  1. are acceptable and tolerable to users, with successful completion in an average of under 40 minutes;
  2. reliably measure the distinct theoretical cognitive constructs they were designed to assess;
  3. can discriminate schizophrenia patients from healthy controls with a fair degree of accuracy (AUROC > 0.70); and
  4. have promising construct, convergent, and external validity.

Biagianti B, Fisher M, Brandrett B, et al. Development and testing of a web-based battery to remotely assess cognitive health in individuals with schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print February 4, 2019]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2019.01.047.