Processing speed deficits are characteristic of schizophrenia and related to its functional impairment, including in its nascent stages, during a putatively prodromal or clinical high risk period. These cognitive deficits have proven relatively refractory to pharmacologic strategies, though the deficits can be improved with cognitive remediation programs in schizophrenia. The cognitive gains can then generalize to functional improvement, particularly early in the course of illness (i.e. first episode psychosis). Although processing speed deficits are also prevalent in young people identified as at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis (i.e. ?psychosis risk syndrome?), and related to their concurrent impaired function and predictive of later psychosis (onset of which occurs in 20-25% of CHR cohorts), little research has focused on how to remediate these deficits in CHR patients. Remediating core cognitive deficits in CHR patients could plausibly address present functional impairment in these young people and moderate illness progression. We propose to conduct a double-blind randomized trial in 90 CHR patients to examine a focal processing speed training program versus an active control and a no treatment control in terms of improvement in processing speed and social function, and reduction in prodromal symptom severity.
Young people who are at great risk for developing psychosis have cognitive deficits which are strongly related to functioning in the community. This study looks to target a specific cognitive skill called processing speed to see if improving the ability to process information in a timely manner will improve social function in teens and young adults at risk for developing schizophrenia.