Hartford, CT, United States
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Choi J.,The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital | Wang Y.,Columbia University | Wang Y.,Columbia University | Wang Y.,New York State Psychiatric InstituteNY | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Psychiatric Research | Year: 2017

Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains the most effective treatment for severe depression, some patients report persistent memory problems following ECT that impact their quality of life and their willingness to consent to further ECT. While cognitive training has been shown to improve memory performance in various conditions, this approach has never been applied to help patients regain their memory after ECT. In a double-blind study, we tested the efficacy of a new cognitive training program called Memory Training for ECT (Mem-ECT), specifically designed to target anterograde and retrograde memory that can be compromised following ECT. Fifty-nine patients with treatment-resistant depression scheduled to undergo ultra-brief right unilateral ECT were randomly assigned to either(a) Mem-ECT, (b) active control comprised of nonspecific mental stimulation, or (c) treatment as usual. Participants were evaluated within one week prior to the start of ECT and then again within 2 weeks following the last ECT session. All three groups improved in global function, quality of life, depression, and self-reported memory abilities without significant group differences. While there was a decline in verbal delayed recall and mental status, there was no decline in general retrograde memory or autobiographical memory in any of the groups, with no significant memory or clinical benefit for the Mem-ECT or active control conditions compared to treatment as usual. While we report negative findings, these results continue to promote the much needed discussion on developing effective strategies to minimize the adverse memory side effects of ECT, in hopes it will make ECT a better and more easily tolerated treatment for patients with severe depression who need this therapeutic option. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Kurtz M.M.,Wesleyan University | Trask C.L.,Wesleyan University | Rosengard R.,Wesleyan University | Hyman S.,Wesleyan University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society | Year: 2017

Objectives: Verbal episodic memory is a key domain of impairment in people with schizophrenia with close ties to a variety of aspects of functioning and therapeutic treatment response. A randomized, blinded trial of two mnemonic strategies for verbal episodic memory deficits for people with schizophrenia was conducted. Methods: Sixty-one people with schizophrenia were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: training in a mnemonic strategy that included both visualization and narrative structure (Story Method), a condition in which participants were trained to visualize words interacting with one another (Imagery), or a non-trained control condition in which participants received equivalent exposure to training word lists and other verbal memory assessments administered in the other two conditions, but without provision of any compensatory mnemonic strategy. Participants were assessed on improvements in recall of the word list used as part of training, as well as two, standardized verbal memory assessments which included stimuli not used as part of strategy training. Results: The Story Method produced improvements on a trained word list that generalized to a non-trained, prose memory task at a 1-week follow-up. In contrast, provision of a mnemonic strategy of simple visualization of words produced little improvement on word recall of trained words or on measures of generalization relative to the performance of participants in the control condition. Conclusions: These findings support the inclusion of enriched mnemonic strategies consisting of both visualization and narrative structure in sustained and comprehensive programs of CR for enhancement of verbal episodic memory in schizophrenia. (JINS, 2017, 23, 1–6) Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2017


Fiszdon J.M.,Yale University | Choi K.H.,Korea University | Bell M.D.,Yale University | Choi J.,The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital | Silverstein S.M.,Rutgers University
Psychological Medicine | Year: 2016

Background: The popularity of cognitive remediation (CR) interventions for individuals with psychosis is in part based on the well-established link between cognition and functioning and the assumption that by targeting cognition, function can improve. While numerous trials have reported CR's efficacy, it is still not considered an evidence-based treatment. Importantly, little is known about the mechanisms through which it may affect functioning. Method: In this study, we evaluated CR's proximal and distal effects, and examined potential mechanisms. A total of 75 individuals with psychotic disorders were randomized to a combination of strategy-based and drill-and-practice CR or wait-list control, with assessments of training task performance, neurocognition, functional capacity, symptoms and functioning conducted at baseline, end of the 2-month intervention, and 2-month follow-up. Results: Compared with treatment as usual, CR was associated with large post-training improvements on training tasks targeting attention, visuospatial memory, and verbal learning and memory, with persisting group differences at the 2-month follow-up. These generalized to mostly large improvements on neuropsychological measures targeting visuospatial memory, verbal learning and memory, delayed verbal memory and verbal working memory. While there were no CR-associated improvements on measures of functional capacity, symptoms, or a self-report measure of independent living skills, there was an effect on an interviewer-rated measure of functioning (Quality of Life Scale), which appeared primarily driven by the Intrapsychic Foundations subscale. Finally, for those randomized to CR, there were significant, medium-sized correlations between training task improvement, neuropsychological improvement and functioning measures. Conclusions: This suggests a complex, multifactorial relationship between CR, and cognitive and functional change. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Indiana University, Yale University, The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital and Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Type: | Journal: Schizophrenia research | Year: 2016

Defeatist beliefs and amotivation are prominent obstacles in vocational rehabilitation for people with serious mental illnesses (SMI). The CBT-based Indianapolis Vocational Intervention Program (IVIP) was specifically designed to reduce defeatist beliefs related to work functioning. In the current study, we examined the impact of IVIP on defeatist beliefs and motivation for work, hypothesizing that IVIP would be associated with a reduction in defeatist beliefs and greater motivation for work. We also examined the effects of IVIP on these variables as well as work outcomes during a 12-month follow-up. Participants with SMI (n=64) enrolled in a four-month work therapy program were randomized to IVIP or a support therapy group (SG). Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-treatment (4months), and follow-up (1year). Compared to those in SG condition, individuals randomized to IVIP condition reported greater reductions in defeatist beliefs and greater motivation for work at follow-up, along with greater supported employment retention rates. Specifically treating and targeting negative expectations for work therapy improves outcomes, even once active supports of the IVIP program and work therapy are withdrawn.

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