Dr. Philip Harvey Invited to Review Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Schizophrenia

Philip Harvey, Ph.D., the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of the Division of Psychology, told a world gathering of schizophrenia researchers recently that combining vocational rehabilitation and other psychosocial interventions with cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) holds promise for patients with schizophrenia, improving their real-world functioning, neurocognition and the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Invited as one of only two plenary speakers at the 14th International Congress of Schizophrenia Research in Orlando April 21-25, Harvey presented “Cognitive Remediation and Cognitive Enhancement: State of the Art,” in which he described the findings of his study published last year in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

In his lecture to nearly 1,500 schizophrenia researchers from across the globe, Harvey highlighted an area of research that has garnered increasing interest among schizophrenia experts — the ability to address cognitive impairments, which have been shown to be more crucial to long-term functional outcome and more stubbornly resistant to treatment than positive symptoms of psychosis.

Harvey described a trend toward using cognitive remediation in combination with other psychosocial interventions — especially vocational rehabilitation — that can produce robust effects, even in a relatively short period. The successful combination suggests the importance of a multimodal strategy with a “total dose effect” that may be as important as the duration of treatment.

“When I look at these data, what I see is that there seems to be this total dose treatment effect,” Harvey said. “If you give people 100 sessions of CRT and nothing else, or 20 sessions of CRT plus vocational rehabilitation, you get the same outcome. It’s very encouraging to me to review data on cognitive enhancement therapies that not only make your cognition better, but allow you to do better in the world in a short time period.”

In conjunction with the congress, the Miller School hosted its Congress Cognition Satellite Conference, which is now in its 20th year. Led by Harvey, the annual conference is an official satellite of the two biennial international schizophrenia meetings – the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research and the Schizophrenia International Research Society.

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