Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Schizophrenia and cognition - pills or practice ?

Schizophrenia often leads to cognitive impairment and attempts to improve the cognition of people with schizophrenia have been seen as an important goal of medical trials. Several recent studies have suggested that second-generation antipsychotics can improve cognition but these studies - funded by the drug industry - did not include control groups to eliminate the possibility that the improvements in cognition described could have been due to the participants having had practice at taking the tests over the course of the study. A U.S. study compared 104 people taking olanzapine and risperidone with 84 healthy controls and found that after two sets of cognitive tests, after six and sixteen weeks, the control group had improved as much as the group taking the drugs suggesting that some, if not all, of the improvements in cognition reported in earlier trials could have been due to the practice rather than the pills.

Goldberg, Terry E. ... [et al] - Cognitive improvement after treatment with second-generation antipsychotic medications in first-episode schizophrenia Archives of General Psychiatry October 2007, 64(10), 1115-1122

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