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Non-Medication Clinical Trials

There are a variety of non-medication research protocols underway in the ORP. These investigations seek to better understand the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, specifically with regard to memory, learning and attention. Structural and functional imaging studies try to better understand the neuroanatomy and neurochemistry abnormalities underlying schizophrenia.

There are a number of genetic and family studies where the goal is to better understand how different measurable risk factors for the illness are transmitted between family members. Success in finding these measures would better enable scientists to understand the genetics of schizophrenia.

Finally, investigations are ongoing to better understand the ability of patients with schizophrenia to give informed consent. Recently completed studies have sought to better understand what cognitive processes underlie good vocational outcomes and which cognitive tests are best used to examine cognition in schizophrenia. 

Investigation Areas


People with schizophrenia often have trouble with memory, concentration, and decision-making. These impairments may be related to the difficulties people with schizophrenia have functioning independently. Unfortunately, current medications improve symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions but do little for these cognitive impairments. Therefore, furthering the understanding of the underlying causes of cognition in schizophrenia may provide new targets for future medications or new strategies for cognitive rehabilitation. At the ORP, we are conducting a number of different studies to gain a deeper understanding of how memory and concentration and learning are affected by schizophrenia.

Studies consist of a variety of tasks including paper and pencil tests, computerized tests, and functional brain imaging using both event-related potentials and functional MRI. Subjects are reimbursed for their time and transportation is provided, if needed. Cognitive studies are also part of clinical trials that test new medications for cognitive enhancement. 

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Brain Imaging Studies

The ultimate goal of his group of studies is to generate greater understanding of the underlying brain abnormality of schizophrenia to help guide the development of new treatments.  A variety of imaging techniques are used to study the structural, neurochemical, and functional neuroanatomy of schizophrenia.

Magnetic resonance imaging technologies allow for detailed non-radiographic images of the brain that can not only measure structural abnormalities but can also assess brain chemistry and detail areas of the brain used for specific tasks.  Using these techniques, researchers can examine the relationship between brain structure, symptomatology, and functional ability.

Subjects for these studies are recruited from all MPRC programs. Subjects do not obtain any direct clinical benefit for themselves but do, through their participation, contribute toward furthering scientific knowledge about the biologic basis of schizophrenia. Subjects are reimbursed for their time.

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Former MPRC Director, Dr. Robert W. Buchanan, provides an overview of the center.

Deanna L. Kelly wins the 2017 Maltz Prize for Innovative & Promising Research from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

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