“Brain-Plasticity Based” Computer Program Starts Trials

Kermit Cole
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A computerized “brain-plasticity based” computer program designed to improve cognitive issues associated with schizophrenia is undergoing trials at eleven research centers in the U.S. The project is funded by the NIMH and is being done in collaboration with investigators from the Schizophrenia Trials Network.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

5 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, it would be very interesting to run a comparison of drug-exposed vs. drug-naive schizophrenia-diagnosed people for cognitive impairment. I thought it amusingly ironic that they found that none of the drugs have been FDA approved for this “indication,” where there’s good reason to suspect that the drugs themselves cause the impairment.

  2. I suspect it is more complex – that both mental health problems, and the drugs, can cause impairment. Which is why sometimes drugs seem to “help” with the impairment, and sometimes make it worse.

    What I think is key to recognize, and what our system should be working toward but isn’t, is ways of getting to where one neither has the mental health problem nor is taking the drugs. I suspect the currently reported study may be too narrow, they might try looking for example at a form of mindfulness meditation that has been found to help people in general with developing the part of the brain involved in emotion regulation, see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/765894

  3. “…getting to where one neither has the mental health problem nor is taking the drugs.”

    This is the end game Ron. I agree this needs to be more of a focus. I understand the need for so many posts, articles, etc. exposing the chemical imbalance myth, ghostwriting, unsavory relationships, etc. But I’m hoping, in time, more and more posts will have to do with remaking our system so that what are called “mental illnesses” today do not exist. Distress, even extreme states of distress must be seen differently, not as illness. If we remove the diagnostic dogma we are still left with our cultures desire for quick fixes thru drugs. This is an issue that transcends psychiatry.

  4. “These cognitive impairments can limit the ability of persons with schizophrenia to process new information accurately and quickly, make effective decisions and remember key information. …these symptoms can severely impair patients’ abilities to perform everyday activities, live independently, gain employment and sustain social relationships.

    It is commonly believed that the most significant symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions and/or hallucinations, yet these represent only a fraction of the symptoms.”

    This study concludes that the side effects of anti-psychotic medications are more impairing than the symptoms of so-called schizophrenia they are meant to treat. (i.e. delusions and hallucinations). These are all the “negative symptoms” that Nancy Andreason recognized were due to medications, and had been mistaken for symptoms of schizophrenia.