Sophia Vinogradov, M.D
Professor and Department Head
Donald W. Hastings Endowed Chair
Department of Psychiatry
University of Minnesota
For the past 10 years, our research has focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of neuroscience-informed computerized cognitive training exercises that target the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. For example, we have shown that 50 hours (10 weeks) of training of basic auditory processing and auditory/verbal working memory results in significant improvements in untrained measures of verbal learning and memory and general cognition in adults with schizophrenia. We have also shown that this form of training is associated with quality of life improvements months after training is completed; and that it “normalizes” brain activation patterns during basic auditory processing as well as higher-order complex cognitions. We have investigated serum biomarkers associated with the intervention and have demonstrated that medication-induced anticholinergic burden adversely affects patients’ cognitive gains after training. Though in its early stages, this work is paving the way for an entirely new treatment approach for schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric illnesses.