Cambridge University Researchers Develop App to Help Schizophrenia Patientsadmin
Cambridge University researchers have recently developed and tested a brain training app that could help patients with schizophrenia improve their day to day lives. The aim of app – called Wizard – is to address the cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia, such as memory loss, that make it difficult for these patients to return to school or work.
According to the World Health Organization, schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects more than 21 million people worldwide. Schizophrenia is characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self and behavior. Common experiences include hearing voices and delusions. While these psychotic symptoms are relatively well treated with current medication offerings, there is currently no licensed pharmaceutical treatment to improve cognitive functions for people with schizophrenia.
Professor Barbara Sahakian and her research team, from the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge hope that this app will bridge the gap between patient need and pharmaceutical limitation to improve episodic memory, which schizophrenia is known to affect.
“The memory game can help where drugs have so far failed. Because the game is interesting, even those patients with a general lack of motivation are spurred on to continue the training,” Sahakian said in a statement.
Participants that used the app showed significant improvement on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) PAL test, which researchers used to assess patient’s episodic memory, compared to the control group that did not use the app at all.