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Mobile Phones Are Potential Tool for Monitoring Cognition in Schizophrenia Patients

Key clinical point: Smartphones can help clinicians measure cognition in schizophrenia patients in real time.

Major finding: Participants with schizophrenia earned lower scores on complex assessments involving switching tasks, compared with controls. However, both groups earned similar scores on smartphone assessments involving simple patterns.

Study details: Eighteen participants with schizophrenia, compared with 17 health controls, completed cognitive assessments using the LAMP smartphone app over a 12-week period.

Disclosures: The study was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health training award to coauthor John Torous, MD, and a grant to Dr. Torous from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. The authors reported having no relevant conflicts of interest.


Liu G et al. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2019 Sep. doi: 10.1016/j.scog.2019.100144.


There is a robust literature demonstrating that people with schizophrenia have impaired cognition on multiple domains compared to healthy controls. Cognitive batteries like those developed in the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) initiative can provide a comprehensive assessment of these deficits, but because of their length and complexity are rarely used in clinical settings. Unlike traditional cognitive assessments, the brief assessments delivered via smartphone in this study appear acceptable to participants with schizophrenia and make it possible to record the timing related to each screen touch event and thus reproduce the process of completing the assessment. While not a substitute for more comprehensive cognitive assessment, findings demonstrate the feasibility of capturing selective cognitive data in a practical and low-burden way.

—Martha Sajatovic, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology; Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research; Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.