Researchers at San Francisco-based Brain Plasticity, Inc. (BPI) have begun a multi-center study to evaluate the effects of a computerized, brain-plasticity-based program designed to address the cognitive issues associated with schizophrenia. The clinical trial, e-CAeSAR (Evaluation of a Cognitively Adaptive e-treatment in Schizophrenia-diagnosed Adults: A Remediation-based Approach), is being funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and will be conducted at eleven research centers in the U.S. in collaboration with experienced investigators from the Schizophrenia Trials Network (STN).
Cognitive impairment is a devastating component of schizophrenia that affects virtually all persons who are diagnosed. The NIMH estimates that nearly 40 percent ($44 billion) of schizophrenia's total cost involves lost time from work for patients and care providers, and places high demands on social services. This makes schizophrenia the most costly mental illness in the United States.
The "e-CAeSAR" trial is the first time neuroscientists will work with U.S. Food and Drug Administration representatives to evaluate Brain Plasticity's program. Pharmaceutical companies have tested drugs in development to alleviate the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia; thus far none have been FDA-approved as efficacious.