Natalia I. GHIRASIM*1, Nicoleta SANDU2, Awon RAZA3,
Ioana V. MICLUTIA1, Rodica MACREA1
1University of Medicine and Pharmacy ”Iuliu Hatieganu” Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
2 Emergency Clinical County Hospital Cluj, Second Psychiatric Clinic, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3 Waverley House, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, UK
Cognitive impairments in schizophrenia have been largely documented and there is increasing evidence that these deficits could be considered as ratelimiting factors for recovery. Research has shown that cognitive training is effective to treat cognitive impairments in patients with schizophrenia, with implications on symptoms. Out of 22 patients selected for this study, 15 were evaluated at baseline. Patients were recruited from Second Psychiatric Clinic from Cluj-Napoca and met ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR criteria for schizophrenia. The primary outcome measure was participants’ cognitive function level as evaluated by neuropsychological tests that assess attention, memory and executive function. The group of 15 patients completed 40 daily cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) sessions. Participants were assessed again after completing the CRT program and at six months follow up. Results showed that CRT produced an overall improvement on neurocognition, particularly in verbal memory and executive function. The positive results were still evident at 6 months follow up neuropsychological assessment, meaning that these gains are still present after therapy cessation. CRT showed positive treatment effect on psychopathology. The overall results of this first study on CRT in schizophrenia on Romanian patients produce encouraging results. Further, there is need to verify if these gains persist in time, and also the effects of improving cognitive functioning on other domains such as quality of life and functioning, in patients with schizophrenia.
Keywords: cognitive remediation, neurocognition, schizophrenia