Objective: The lack of an accepted standard for measuring cognitive change in schizophrenia has been a major obstacle to regulatory approval of cognition-enhancing treatments. A primary mandate of the National Institute of Mental Health's Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) initiative was to develop a consensus cognitive battery for clinical trials of cognition-enhancing treatments for schizophrenia through a broadly based scientific evaluation of measures.
Method: The MATRICS Neurocognition Committee evaluated more than 90 tests in seven cognitive domains to identify the 36 most promising measures. A separate expert panel evaluated the degree to which each test met specific selection criteria. Twenty tests were selected as a beta battery. The beta battery was administered to 176 individuals with schizophrenia and readministered to 167 of them 4 weeks later so that the 20 tests could be compared directly.
Results: The expert panel ratings are presented for the initially selected 36 tests. For the beta battery tests, data on test-retest reliability, practice effects, relationships to functional status, practicality, and tolerability are presented. Based on these data, 10 tests were selected to represent seven cognitive domains in the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery.
Conclusions: The structured consensus method was a feasible and fair mechanism for choosing candidate tests, and direct comparison of beta battery tests in a common sample allowed selection of a final consensus battery. The MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery is expected to be the standard tool for assessing cognitive change in clinical trials of cognition-enhancing drugs for schizophrenia. It may also aid evaluation of cognitive remediation strategies.