Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New drug for cognition in schizophrenia

Most of the drugs now used to treat schizophrenia were developed more through chance than through a targeted design of any particular brain circuit or neurotransmitter. However, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a chemical that boosts the flow of a neurotransmitter called GABA, low levels of which have been implicated in some of the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. A small study of 15 men, aged between 18 and 50 divided them into two groups. One group took the chemical (MK-0777) and the other group took a placebo. Over the four weeks of the study the participants took various psychological and EEG tests to measure how well their working memory was performing. Both the psychological tests and the EEGs showed that the people taking MK-0777 had improved working memory function and the drug seemed to have few side effects. However, there will still be a lot of work to do before MK-0777 is licensed for general consumption.

You can find out more about this research by clicking on the link in the title of the post.

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