Cortical thickness in regions of frontal and temporal lobes is associated with responsiveness to cognitive remediation therapy in schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2016 Mar;171(1-3):110-6. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Jan 15.


Background: Despite the evidence for the efficacy of cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) in patients with schizophrenia, comparatively little is known about the potential predictors of good treatment response. We tried to determine whether improvement in cognition following CRT is positively associated with baseline cortical thickness (CTh) or baseline clinical symptoms level or baseline cognitive performance.

Methods: The current work uses data collected in a previous study (Penadés et al., 2013) in which a CRT program was investigated through a controlled randomized trial (NCT 01318850) with three groups: patients receiving cognitive treatment, patients receiving a different psychological intervention as an active and a healthy control groups (HC). CTh was estimated from the T1-weighted MRIs using the FreeSurfer software.

Results: We found that CRT responsiveness was associated with baseline measures of cortical thickness in the frontal and temporal lobes. Positive changes in non-verbal memory were associated with greater initial thickness in cortical regions involving left superior frontal, left caudal middle frontal, left precuneus and paracentral; superior frontal, right caudal middle frontal gyrus and pars opercularis. Additionally, uncorrected data also suggested that verbal memory improvement could be associated with CTh in some areas of the frontal and temporal lobes.

Discussion: Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that greater CTh in specific brain areas could be associated with better response to CRT. Furthermore, brain areas associated with CRT responsiveness were located mainly in regions of frontal and temporal lobes.

Keywords: Cognitive remediation; Cortical thickness; Neurocognition; Schizophrenia; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition Disorders* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognition Disorders* / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders* / rehabilitation
  • Cognitive Remediation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Schizophrenia* / complications
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia* / pathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*