Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to measure changes in cerebral activity in patients with schizophrenia after participation in the Cognitive Remediation Program for Schizophrenia and other related disorders (RECOS). As RECOS therapists make use of problem-solving and verbal mediation techniques, known to be beneficial in the rehabilitation of dysexecutive syndromes, we expected an increased activation of frontal areas after remediation. Executive functioning and cerebral activation during a covert verbal fluency task were measured in eight patients with schizophrenia before (T1) and after (T2) 14 weeks of RECOS therapy. The same measures were recorded in eight patients with schizophrenia who did not participate in RECOS at the same intervals of time (TAU group). Increased activation in Broca's area, as well as improvements in performance of executive/frontal tasks, was observed after cognitive training. Metacognitive techniques of verbalization are hypothesized to be the main factor underlying the brain changes observed in the present study.
Keywords: Executive function; Frontal area; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Verbal fluency; Verbalization.
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