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In Schizophrenia, Targeted Cognitive Training Combo Bolsters Social Functioning

Key clinical point: Social cognition training in addition to targeted cognitive training improves social functioning after 6 months in adults with schizophrenia disorders, compared with those who received targeted cognitive training alone.

Major finding: Patients who received social cognition training in addition to targeted cognitive training showed greater improvement in prosody identification and reward processing, compared with those who received only targeted cognitive training.

Study details: The data come from 111 adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Miley is supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and had no financial conflicts. Several coauthors disclosed relationships with Posit Science, a company that produces cognitive training and assessment software.

Citation:

Miley K et al. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2019. doi: 10.1016/j.scog.2019.100171.

Commentary:

Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia and are generally associated with poor social and occupational outcomes. Cognitive impairment in people with schizophrenia also tends to involve multiple domains, including social cognition. There is a growing body of literature that supports the utility of cognitive training to help remediate some of these deficits. This report illustrates the potential role of social cognition training as part of a broader cognitive intervention for people with schizophrenia. The finding that improvements in social cognition might lead to improved motivated behavior has implications for how we might, in the future, better address treatment of negative symptoms, where there are few evidence-based approaches. Findings also emphasize the importance of further investigation to best assess how and when computer-facilitated cognitive interventions can advance care for people with schizophrenia.—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.