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Ask the Experts

Question:

I would like to buy CD brain exercises for my schizophrenic son to improve his negative symptoms. Which would you suggest? What program do you use? Is it possible for me to buy them online?

Answered by: Alice Medalia

Your question points to the need for an expert and consumer based consensus on both the criteria used to determine recommendations, and the specific recommendations for computer based exercises.

To date this does not exist, though there are several efforts underway to address this need. Cyberguide.org is an example of such a developing project. Cyberguide is still in the formative stages, and in time more of the many available computer based exercises will be reviewed, as well as the criteria experts agree should determine those reviews.

Researchers have used a wide variety of computer based exercises to address various aspects of negative symptoms, but most commonly cognitive dysfunction. The cognitive remediation research indicates that of the various computer based exercises used in randomized controlled trials, there is no evidence of superior efficacy of one of another. Further, research to date with people who have schizophrenia indicates that while home based cognitive exercises are feasible, and can benefit cognition, there is no evidence that it additionally leads to improved functioning in daily life. For functional gains to occur , at least some of the training needs to take place within the context of a rehabilitation program.

At the Lieber Recovery Clinic a wide variety of computer based exercises are used to address neuro and social cognition as well as social interactions.

For more information please consult www.lieberclinic.com.