The impact of cognitive remediation on social functioning and neural plasticity in early psychosis: a randomized clinical trial.

Neuro- and social-cognition impairments are critical aspects of early psychosis. Cognitive remediation (CR) has moderate effect on chronic patients' deficits, especially if combined with other interventions. Despite that, studies focusing on the early stages of illness are still scarce and overall missing to hit crucial targets, which indeed represent the aims of the present project. Specifically, this study aims at testing the synergistic effect of CR and mindfulness in early psychosis. To do this, a clinical randomized, multicentric and longitudinal design has been implemented, applying multimodal imaging to detail CR and mindfulness impact on structural and functional neural plasticity.

Objectives and expected scientific results

A compelling and striking challenge for SSN is the implementation of proven and cost-effective interventions reducing the burden, especially in the first phases of psychosis. It is known that cognitive remediation (CR) reduces impairments in cognition and contrasts social and occupational deficits in psychosis, especially when provided together with other rehabilitative interventions. Moreover, accumulating evidence exists about the impact of CR on neural plasticity. On the other hand, it is still unclear: a) the potential contribution of CR when combined to a clinically-oriented intervention as mindfulness; b) the degree of durability and generalization of CR effects to patients’ daily life; c) how CR precisely affects brain plasticity. These crucial targets represent the aims of the project. The synergistic effect of CR and mindfulness in early psychosis will be assessed also by non-traditional tools to verify duration and transferability of interventions on patients' real contexts. Outcomes will be immediately transferable to clinical-rehabilitative settings reducing the burden of disease.

Project team

Giulia Mattavelli, Irene Gorrino