Dr. Christopher Bowie used his 2007 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to conduct a study that shows how different types of psychological therapies for schizophrenia can be combined in a way that results in improvements in everyday functioning. His study article (published Jul. 1, 2012) was designated on Dec. 12, 2012, as an American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) “Editor’s Choice” for the year—a recognition of the significance of the scientific discovery as well as the eloquence of the written findings.
Remission from obvious schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions is often a first step as patients seek to recover their functioning in the community. Difficulties with cognitive abilities such as memory and attention often persist and make it a challenge to work, live independently and socialize. The age at onset can make it difficult to acquire these skills that are often picked up in early adulthood.
“We discovered that cognitive remediation improves cognitive abilities like attention and memory, but this therapy is much more likely to result in improved functioning if it is followed by a skills training psychological intervention that uses teaching and role playing to improve social and adaptive skills,” says Christopher R. Bowie, Ph.D., C.Psych., Director, Cognitive and Psychotic Disorders Laboratory and Associate Professor, Departments of Psychology & Psychiatry, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada. “The skills training intervention alone is less effective, and its effects are less durable, if cognitive issues are not dealt with first.”
“I am grateful that the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation continues to fund important clinical science that has the potential to make a direct and immediate impact on the lives of those with mental illness. Discovering what methods work best to help improve daily functioning can only be accomplished when this type of support is provided,” adds Dr. Bowie.
Read the AJP 2012 in Review Editor’s Choice article “Making a Difference in the Real World”
Read the study abstract