Evaluation of a plasticity-based cognitive training program in schizophrenia: Results from the eCaesar trial

Henry W. Mahncke, Sarah Jane Kim, Annika Rose, Catherine Stasio, Peter Buckley, Stanley Caroff, Erica Duncan, Sarah Yasmin, L. Fredrik Jarskog, J. Steven Lamberti, Keith Nuechterlein, Martin Strassnig, Dawn Velligan, Joseph Ventura, Trina Walker, T. Scott Stroup, Richard S.E. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia is a core feature of the disorder. Computerized cognitive training has shown promise in pilot studies. A 26-week randomized blinded placebo-controlled trial was conducted to investigate the effect of a novel computerized cognitive training program on cognitive and functional capacity outcomes. Method: The study followed MATRICS guidelines for the evaluation of interventions designed to improve cognitive function in schizophrenia. Participants (N = 150) were randomized to experimental (computerized cognitive training in a game-like format) or active control (computer games) groups. Training was conducted in-clinic, with an intended training schedule of 5 days per week, 1 h per day, for 26 weeks. Co-primary outcome measures were the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) composite score and the UCSD Performance-Based Skills Assessment (UPSA-2) total score, secondary outcome measures included the Cognitive Assessment Interview (CAI) and the Short-Form-12 Mental Composite Score (SF-12 MCS). Target engagement was assessed with task-learning based assessment. Results: At baseline, the groups were well matched. No significant effect of the experimental treatment was seen on the primary or secondary outcome measures compared to the active control. Review of the task learning/target engagement data suggested inadequate target engagement. Conclusions: Results do not support a cognitive or functional capacity benefit from this implementation of a computerized cognitive training program in people with schizophrenia. In future trials, careful consideration is merited of the assessment of task learning/target engagement, the effects of making the cognitive training game-like on motivation, and the implicit effects of trial requirements on participant selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia research
Volume208
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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