Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Computerized Training to Help Schizophrenia Patients

I came across this article on the web. A new study conducted at the University of California-San Francisco alongside with San Francisco Medical Center. The study: “showed that patients with schizophrenia were better able to distinguish their own thoughts from reality after completing 80 hours of intense computerized cognitive training exercises.” It is different from the memory training DVDs I use. Although they are made by the same company called Posit Science Corporation. The people they used for the study were 31 with schizophrenia and a control group of 15 participants without a mental illness.
It interested me because I read about schizophrenics that have a hard time distinguishing from what is real and what is not. “The study assessed patients before and after a 16-week period. The study noted that those who completed 80 hours of intense computerized training within the time were better able to decipher between what was reality and what was not.” I can only remember when I relapsed from not enough medication is my system. It is hard to know what is real and not real.
I remember it being hard to ride the bus and even talking to people when you are like that you do not know if it is real or not. What this training is supposed to do is: “….. intended to increase activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, a key part of the brain.” It is part of the brain that controls decisions. Well sixteen of the schizophrenics received cognitive computer training. The other fifteen played computer games. Fifteen participants just went through MRI scanning with the 31 with schizophrenia.
The study found that: “Participants who received the computerized cognitive training were able to better determine reality than those who played computer games. As well, the MRI revealed those who had the computerized training also had increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls decisions.” That is big news if you distinguish what is real and what is not. What it means: “Interestingly, greater activation within the medial prefrontal cortex was also linked with better social functioning six months after the training.” That mean you do not have to keep doing it over it sticks in there.
It would be nice to try if you are having some of the negative symptoms I talked about last week. I know a lot of schizophrenics would like to try and see it work.


  1. I found the same information on computerized training. I ordered a membership to Luminosity as well as some computerized auditory discrimination training (for my son who has sz). I figured, it can't hurt. Why not give it a go?
    I also started a blog to chronicle my experiences as a parent of a young adult with sz. Just for my own personal outlet. Hope you have a chance to visit.

  2. Hi Charles,

    This is really fascinating. It would be wonderful if we were moving into an age where people can be helped by programs like these. Lately I've been imagining an internet Peer support program where people could connect with Peers in recovery as a form of support and therapy. Really internet communication is perfect for people with schizophrenia who tend to pull into themselves and not reach out for help.

    I've included your blog in my Blog List. Thanks for writing!

    Kate : )

  3. Non-chemical means of helping people cope with symptoms of schizophrenia are sorely needed. How much healthier to teach people to distinguish inner from out outer stimuli than using drugs to block the inner material. Wouldn't it be great if life could be lived comfortably with the brain's innate chemistry, whatever that creates in mental life, rather than relying on pills to manage things. Thank you for informing us of this vital research.