Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia

This initiative grew out of the final "New Approaches to Cognition (NAC)" meeting conducted under MATRICS and has the goal of developing measurement approaches from cognitive, social and affective neuroscience so that they may be implemented in efforts to develop treatments for impaired cognition in schizophrenia. A consensus at the NAC meeting was that considerable work was needed in order for the field to move beyond the use of clinical standardized tasks to those that reflect the state of the art in cognitive neuroscience, and which could bridge from animal models of higher cognitive function to studies using non-invasive imaging in humans. As a means of beginning to conduct this work, the primary goals of CNTRICS are

  1. The identification of a set of cognitive systems and component processes thereof to be targeted for treatment development in schizophrenia.
  2. To delineate and target the psychometric and pragmatic issues relevant to the development of tasks that measure the function of these cognitive systems, including
    1. issues related to the measurement of specific cognitive processes in the face of generalized performance deficits,
    2. the establishment of benchmarks for reliability and stability of experimental cognitive measures, and
    3. identify strategies to optimize these properties during the development of experimental cognitive measures.
  3. The development of specific measures of the function of target cognitive processes that can be implemented as behavioral tasks as well as in non-invasive functional neuroimaging studies using techniques as fMRI and EEG/ERP.

An important consideration in the development of cognitive systems to be tested and tasks to be used is that there are plausible animal models that can be developed in parallel. By the end to the CNTRICS initiative we will seek to have addressed the major barriers to using measures from cognitive neuroscience to enhance efforts by industry and academia to develop effective therapies for impaired cognition in schizophrenia.

These goals will be pursued in three consensus building and development meetings conducted over an 18 month period.