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Schizophrenia clinical trials at University of California Health

30 in progress, 24 open to eligible people

Showing trials for
  • A Clinical Trial That Will Study the Efficacy and Safety of an Investigational Drug in Acutely Psychotic People With Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    A clinical trial to study the efficacy and safety of an investigational drug in acutely psychotic people with schizophrenia. Participants in the study will either receive the drug being studied or a placebo. This study is accepting male and female participants between 18 -65 years old who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This study will be conducted in 40 locations world wide. The study will last up to nine (9) weeks.

    at UCSD

  • A Clinical Trial to Study the Efficacy and Safety of an Investigational Drug in Acutely Psychotic People With Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 13-65

    A clinical trial to study the efficacy and safety of an investigational drug in acutely psychotic people with schizophrenia. Participants in the study will either receive the drug being studied or a placebo. This study is accepting male and female participants between 13 years old -65 years old who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This study will be conducted in 50 locations worldwide. The study will last up to 9 weeks total time.

    at UCSD

  • A Neurofeedback Intervention to Improve Working Memory in Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    Schizophrenia affects 2.4 million Americans and causes significant individual and societal costs. Cognitive deficits including poor working memory arise early in the course of illness, account for poor long-term outcomes and have been difficult to treat with available treatments. The investigators are proposing to develop a novel, computer-based brain training to improve working memory in schizophrenia patients, which, if successful could have significant personal, societal, and economic impact.

    at UCSD

  • A Pharmaco-imaging Approach to Predicting Social Functioning and Clinical Responses to Oxytocin Administration in Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-70

    Schizophrenia has a devastating and disproportionate effect on veterans compared to the general US population. Some of the most disabling symptoms, such as low motivation, difficulty expressing emotions, and decreased ability to infer the mental states of others, cause poor social functioning. This means that veterans with schizophrenia have trouble navigating interpersonal interactions and building meaningful relationships in the community. Unfortunately, current antipsychotic medications typically only improve positive symptoms but fail to improve social functioning deficits, which are strong predictors of poor quality of life and functional outcomes. Oxytocin, a peptide found in the brain, plays an important role in social behavior and is known to moderate affiliation, stress, and learning across taxa. In this study, the investigators will test whether oxytocin could be an effective treatment for social functioning deficits in schizophrenia. The investigators will examine changes in brain activation to understand how oxytocin affects behavior and to predict which individuals may benefit from oxytocin treatment.

    at UCLA UCSF

  • A Study of the Effects of Brain Stimulation on Higher-Order Cognition

    open to eligible people ages 18-35

    The purpose of this study is to better understand the neural correlates of higher-order cognition, both in the healthy brain and in schizophrenia, and to determine how these mechanisms are modulated by transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) at frontal and occipital scalp sites. Testing the effects of tDCS at these scalp sites on cognitive task performance will help us understand the roles of the brain regions corresponding to these sites during higher-order cognitive processing (language comprehension, cognitive control, and related attention and memory processes). Behavioral and electrophysiological (EEG) measures will be used to assess cognitive performance. The investigator's overarching hypothesis is that stimulating prefrontal circuits with tDCS can improve cognitive control performance, and ultimately performance on a range of cognitive tasks, as compared to stimulating a different cortical region (occipital cortex) or using sham stimulation. This study is solely intended as basic research in order to understand brain function in healthy individuals and individuals with schizophrenia. This study is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat schizophrenia or any other disease.

    at UC Davis

  • Adapting and Examining Collaborative Decision Skills Training Among Veterans With Serious Mental Illness

    open to eligible people ages 18 years and up

    Recovery-oriented care is an imperative for the VA, particularly in mental health programming for Veterans with serious mental illness (SMI). Collaborative decision-making (CDM) is a recovery-oriented approach to treatment decision-making that assigns equal participation and obligation to patients and providers across all aspects of decision-making, thereby empowering patients and facilitating better decision-making based on patient values and preferences. CDM is associated with several important outcomes including improved treatment engagement, treatment satisfaction, and social functioning. However, current levels of CDM among Veterans with SMI are low, and there is not yet an evidence-based method to improve CDM. Improving Veteran skill sets associated with engaging in CDM is a potential intervention strategy. Collaborative Decision Skills Training (CDST) is a promising new intervention that was previously developed by the applicant for use in adult civilians with SMI and found to improve relevant skills and improve sense of personal recovery. The proposed study has two primary stages. First, a small, one-armed, open label trial will establish CDST's feasibility will evaluate CDST among 12 Veterans with SMI receiving services at the VA San Diego Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) and identify and complete any needed adaptations to CDST. Stakeholder feedback from Veterans, VA clinicians, and VA administrators will be collected to assess Veteran needs and service context to identify any needed adaptations to the CDST manual or the delivery of CDST to maximize its impact and feasibility. The developers of CDST will review all feedback and make final decisions about adaptations to ensure that CDST retains its essential components to protect against loss of efficacy. For example, a recommendation to adjust role-play topics to better reflect the needs of Veterans would be accepted because it would increase CDST's relevance without impairing its integrity, but a recommendation to remove all role-plays would not be accepted because it would cause loss of a key component. Second, CDST will be compared to active control (AC) using a randomized clinical trial of 72 Veterans. The primary outcome measure will be functioning within the rehabilitation context, operationalized as frequency of Veteran CDM behaviors during Veteran-provider interactions. Secondary outcomes are treatment attendance, engagement, satisfaction, and motivation, along with treatment outcomes (i.e., rehabilitation goal attainment, sense of personal recovery, symptom severity, and social functioning). Three exploratory outcomes will be assessed: Veteran-initiated collaborative behaviors, acute service use and provider attitudes and behavior. Veterans will be randomly assigned to CDST or AC conditions. Veterans in the both groups will attend eight hour-long group sessions held over eight weeks. All Veterans will complete an assessment battery at baseline, post-intervention, and at three-month post-intervention follow-up. Following the trial and adaptation phase, the findings will be used to develop a CDST service delivery manual and design a logical subsequent study. The results of the proposed study will inform the potential for larger trials of CDST and the utility of providing CDST broadly to Veterans with SMI. The results of this study will expand current understanding of CDM among Veterans with SMI by providing data that will: 1) identify adaptations needed to optimize CDST for Veterans receiving services in PRRCs; 2) identify possible benefits of CDST; 3) inform development of alternate interventions or methods to improve CDM; and 4) further elucidate CDM and associated treatment processes among Veterans with SMI receiving VA rehabilitation services.

    at UCSD

  • Adjunctive Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) for Persistent Symptoms in People With Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-64

    To determine whether a standardized extract of Withania somnifera will reduce psychopathology scores (PANSS total score) in persons with schizophrenia. A secondary aim is to determine whether WSE reduces measures of positive and negative symptoms (PANSS subscales) and stress scores on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).

    at UCLA

  • Aripiprazole Lauroxil for Preventing Psychotic Relapse After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode

    open to eligible people ages 18-45

    This 12-month study will evaluate the efficacy of aripiprazole lauroxil compared to oral aripiprazole in preventing the re-emergence of psychotic symptoms in patients with a recent onset of schizophrenia.

    at UCLA

  • Brain Stimulation, Clinical Symptoms and Cognition

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    The purpose of this study is to test the impact of non-invasive brain stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), on auditory hallucinations, negative symptoms and cognition in schizophrenia. Clinical measures will be used to assess clinical symptoms and cognitive performance to test the hypothesis that a course of tDCS can reduce auditory hallucinations and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

    at UC Davis

  • Can Neural Network Instability in Schizophrenia be Improved With a Very Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet?

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    Cognitive deficits are major drivers of functional decline and poor outcomes in people with schizophrenia (SZ). In the search for interventions targeting underlying cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, we look to the potential role of dysfunctional systemic metabolism. Disrupted insulin and glucose metabolism are seen in medication-naïve first-episode SZ, suggesting that SZ itself is associated with risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and more generally, accelerated aging. Although the human brain is 2% of the body's volume, it consumes over 20% of its energy, and accordingly, the brain is particularly vulnerable to the dysregulation of glucose metabolism seen in SZ. While glucose is considered to be the brain's default fuel, ketones provide 27% more free energy and are a major source of energy for the brain. Ketones prevent or improve various age-associated diseases, and a ketogenic diet (70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbohydrates) has been posited as an anti-aging and dementia antidote. Recent evidence suggests that ketogenic diets improve dynamic neural network instability, related to cognitive deficits, aging, and Type 2 diabetes. We propose a mechanistic, prospective, clinical pilot study of a 4-week ketogenic diet on neural network instability in overweight/obese SZ, at risk for insulin resistance. Seventy SZ (40-65 years old) will be randomized to a ketogenic diet (n=35) or diet-as-usual (n=35). Resting state 7 Tesla fMRI scans will be acquired before and after the 4-week diets. Cognitive data at baseline will be used to determine if its relationship with network instability, seen in neurotypicals, is also seen in SZ. Network stability following the two diets will be compared, and the role of metabolic and inflammatory mechanisms in improvement of neural network instability will be considered. This work brings together cardiovascular metabolism and psychiatry to address two problems experienced by people with schizophrenia: (1) neural network instability associated with cognitive deficits, and (2) insulin resistance associated with morbidity and mortality. At the end of this 2-year project, it will be known if deficient glucose metabolism, at least partially mediated by primary or secondary insulin-resistance, contributes to network instability in schizophrenia, a pathophysiological mechanism underlying accelerated aging and cognitive impairment in the disorder.

    at UCSF

  • Clinical Trial of BI 425809 Effect on Cognition and Functional Capacity in Schizophrenia (CONNEX-3)

    open to eligible people ages 18-50

    This study is open to adults with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can affect the way a person thinks, their memory and their mental functioning. Examples include struggling to remember things, or to read a book or pay attention to a movie. Some people have difficulty calculating the right change or planning a trip so that they arrive on time. The purpose of this study is to find out whether a medicine called BI 425809 improves learning and memory in people with schizophrenia. Participants are put into two groups randomly, which means by chance. One group takes BI 425809 tablets and the other group takes placebo tablets. Placebo tablets look like BI 425809 tablets but do not contain any medicine. Participants take a tablet once a day for 26 weeks. In addition, all participants take their normal medication for schizophrenia. During this time, doctors regularly test learning and memory of the participants by use of questionnaires, interviews, and computer tests. The results of the mental ability tests are compared between the groups. Participants are in the study for about 8 months and visit the study site about 14 times. During this time, doctors regularly check participants' health and take note of any unwanted effects.

    at UCLA

  • Effects of tDCS on Cognition and Brain Chemistry

    “Volunteer for paid research and contribute to discoveries that may improve health care for you, your family, and your community!”

    open to eligible people ages 18-35

    People with schizophrenia often have problems with attention, learning and memory and other cognitive abilities that interfere with their work and school performance. Unfortunately, even our best treatments often do not significantly reduce these cognitive problems. The current study investigates whether or not delivering a very small electrical current to people's foreheads (called, transcranial direct current stimulation; (tDCS)) might improve functioning in the front part of the brain and reduce these cognitive problems in people with schizophrenia. tDCS is non-invasive and has been shown to improve cognitive functioning in some preliminary studies. The current study will investigate whether giving tDCS during a task is more effective than giving it during rest (Aim 1), whether delivery of tDCS to the front of the head is more effective than delivery to the back of the head (Aim 2), and whether tDCS delivery will alter levels of a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain (GABA; Aim 3) that is important to cognitive functioning and may be disrupted in people with schizophrenia. Although this study is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat schizophrenia or any other disease, if results are positive it will encourage future large-scale studies to determine if tDCS can become an effective treatment for cognitive problems in people with schizophrenia.

    at UC Davis

  • Enhancing Cognitive Training Through Exercise Following a First Schizophrenia Episode

    open to eligible people ages 18-45

    This is a confirmatory randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of a novel intervention combining neuroplasticity-based cognitive training with aerobic exercise, compared to the same systematic cognitive training alone. Treatment occurs for 6 months after randomization, with a followup assessment at 12 months. The investigators hypothesize that combining neuroplasticity-based computerized cognitive training and neurotrophin-enhancing physical exercise will produce neurotrophin increases and cognitive and functional improvements, even relative to cognitive training alone. The investigators target the period shortly after a first episode of schizophrenia to maximize the generalization of cognitive improvement to functional outcome, before chronic disability is established.

    at UCLA

  • Family-Focused Therapy for Individuals at High Clinical Risk for Psychosis: A Confirmatory Efficacy Trial

    open to eligible people ages 13-25

    The present study is a confirmatory efficacy trial of Family Focused Therapy for youth at clinical high risk for psychosis (FFT-CHR). This trial is sponsored by seven mature CHR clinical research programs from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS). The young clinical high risk sample (N = 220 youth ages 13-25) is to be followed at 6-month intervals for 18 months.

    at UCLA UCSD UCSF

  • Luteolin for the Treatment of People With Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-60

    Luteolin is a natural product found in foods such as celery, green pepper, parsley, and chamomile tea. It has been found to have anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The purpose of this study is to determine if luteolin helps improve symptoms of schizophrenia.

    at UCLA

  • Medial-prefrontal Enhancement During Schizophrenia Systems Imaging

    open to eligible people ages 18-60

    This randomized controlled trial in healthy controls (HC) and patients with schizophrenia (SZ) aims to examine 1) the underlying cognitive and neural cause of self-agency deficits in SZ; 2) the responsiveness to a novel navigated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (nrTMS) target in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC); and 3) how modulation of mPFC activity impacts the larger self-agency network to mediate changes in self-agency judgments. Our overall hypothesis is that increased mPFC excitability by active high-frequency nrTMS in HC and SZ will induce behavioral improvements in self-agency and neural changes in the larger self-agency network that will generalize to improvements in overall cognition, symptoms and daily functioning, and will likely lead to the development of new effective neuromodulation therapies in patients with schizophrenia.

    at UCSF

  • Memantine Augmentation of Targeted Cognitive Training in Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    Treatment of schizophrenia currently includes antipsychotic medications and cognitive therapies which improve some symptoms, but do not sufficiently restore cognitive functioning or reduce psychosocial disability. We hypothesize that medications that specifically target sensory information processing deficits, rather than psychotic symptoms per se, will significantly enhance the benefits of a sensory-based targeted cognitive training (TCT) intervention in patients with schizophrenia. We will complete a randomized, double-blind clinical trial to: 1) confirm that the drug memantine augments TCT learning; 2) determine whether memantine enhances the clinical benefits from a full 30 session course of TCT vs. TCT plus placebo in antipsychotic- medicated schizophrenia patients, and 3) determine if memantine's enhancement of TCT is most effective in biomarker-defined subgroups of patients.

    at UCSD

  • Multi-component Intervention for Diabetes in Adults With Serious Mental Illness

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    Persons with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses have a high risk for type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of premature mortality compared to the general population. The goals of the proposed study are to implement a multimodal lifestyle intervention to reduce that risk in these individuals living in residential care facilities, a common housing modality for people with serious mental illnesses. If successful, this intervention will lead to reduction in excess medical comorbidity and mortality in persons with serious mental illnesses.

    at UCSD

  • Novel Pharmacotherapy Approaches in Smokers With Serious Mental Illness

    open to eligible people ages 18-70

    Approximately 60 chronic smokers with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are motivated to try to quit smoking will be randomized to receive smoking cessation treatment with the FDA-approved medication, varenicline, delivered either a) at its standard dose and titration schedule (half of the participants) versus b) at a lower dose and slower titration schedule (the other half), for 12 weeks. All smokers will choose a target quit date sometime between 8 to 35 days after starting the medication. All participants will receive ten 30-minute sessions of a behavioral treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Participants will be followed for an additional 12 weeks off study medication. The major endpoint is the feasibility of combining ACT with the different dosing strategies. Investigators will also conduct a blood test that measures the breakdown of nicotine in the body to explore whether that measure influences treatment response and side effects.

    at UCSD

  • Open-Label, Flexible-dose Study to Evaluate the Long-Term Safety and Tolerability of Cariprazine in the Treatment of Pediatric Participants With Schizophrenia, Bipolar I Disorder, or Autism Spectrum Disorder

    open to eligible people ages 10-17

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the long-term safety and tolerability of cariprazine in the treatment of pediatric participants with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to establish the benefit-risk profile of long-term treatment in this population.

    at UCSD

  • Pharmacologic Augmentation of Targeted Cognitive Training in Schizophrenia

    open to eligible people ages 18-55

    These studies look to conduct efficient pilot testing of a novel intervention strategy for chronic psychotic disorders - Pharmacologic Augmentation of Cognitive Therapy (PACT) - via an experimental medicine approach. Antipsychotics are the major therapeutic tool for chronic psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, but do not significantly alter their course or real-life impact. Specific cognitive therapies achieve modest symptom reduction and improved function and cognition in psychosis patients, including "bottom-up" sensory-based targeted cognitive training (TCT). While benefits of TCT are evident at the group level, almost half of all patients demonstrate little or no cognitive gains after 30-40 hours (h) of TCT. For patients and clinicians, the costs and logistical complexities associated with these time- and resource-intensive interventions can be prohibitive. We propose and will test a novel "augmentation strategy" for using medications to specifically enhance the benefits of TCT in schizophrenia.

    at UCSD

  • Target Engagement and Response to Oxytocin

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    This study will measure whether the engagement of intranasal oxytocin with a brain target is related to effects on learning during a social cognition training program.

    at UCLA

  • The Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on the Neuronal Mechanisms of Cognitive Control in Schizophrenia

    “Help us develop new treatments for patients who have difficulty with brain functions such as reasoning, including schizophrenic patients”

    open to eligible people ages 18-35

    The purpose of this study is to better understand the neural correlates of cognitive control (CC) deficits in schizophrenia and determine how these mechanisms can be modulated by transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). CC is a critical neurocognitive process that is required for flexible, directed thought and action based on goals and intentions. Identifying and developing paradigms to improve CC is therefore a mental health priority. Current theories of CC postulate that recruitment of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is essential for this process by maintaining high-level information that it can then use to orchestrate patterns of activation in other brain networks to support optimal performance. tDCS is a safe, noninvasive method of modulating regional brain excitability via brief (15-20 m) application of a weak (1-2 mA) current. The goal of the proposed experiments is to combine tDCS with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypotheses that 1) acute tDCS over the DLPFC can improve performance during a CC task (the dot pattern expectancy (DPX) variant of the AX-Continuous Performance Task) in schizophrenia patients and healthy control subjects, and 2) acute tDCS over the DLPFC can increase recruitment of the DLPFC during the DPX. Effects of tDCS on brain functional connectivity (during CC as well as during the resting state) will also be examined, as well as effects on an episodic memory task. The current study will be the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the effects of tDCS on the neuronal mechanisms of CC in schizophrenia, and has potentially important implications for therapeutic development for this treatment refractory yet disabling aspect of the illness.

    at UC Davis

  • Optimizing Cognitive Remediation

    open to eligible people ages 18 years and up

    Veterans with mental illness face challenges with community reintegration, including achieving vocational success, attaining their educational goals and going back to school, and maintaining a high quality of life. VA Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Centers and other mental health treatment programs are designed to help Veterans overcome these barriers, but cognitive impairment often seen in Veterans with mental illness limits gains from these settings. Cognitive remediation interventions can be helpful, but they are either "one-size fits all," and thus may not be useful for all Veterans with mental illness, or are too narrow in scope, focusing on specific mental illnesses, limiting generalizability. This project will test whether an objective neurophysiological biomarker, mismatch negativity (MMN), can better match the "right" Veteran to the "right" cognitive remediation treatment regardless of their specific mental health diagnosis.

    at UCSD

  • Clozapine for the Prevention of Violence in Schizophrenia: a Randomized Clinical Trial

    Sorry, not currently recruiting here

    Two-hundred and eighty individuals with schizophrenia who have a recent history of violent acts will be randomized in this 2-arm, parallel-group, 24-week, open-label, 7-site clinical trial to examine the effects of treatment with clozapine vs antipsychotic treatment as usual (TAU) for reducing the risk of violent acts in real-world settings

    at UCLA

  • Compensatory Cognitive Training in Clinical High Risk Latino Youth

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    This is a randomized study to compare Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) versus Recreational Therapy (RT) in Latino clinical high risk individuals in the US and Mexico. Study hypotheses: Compared to those who receive RT, study participants receiving CCT will show significant improvement in neurocognition, functional capacity, self-rated functioning and clinical measures.

    at UCSD

  • Feasibility Trial of a Lifestyle Intervention for CHR-P

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    The present study will assess the feasibility and social validity of an adjunctive health promotion group for youth and clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR-P). Youth participating in treatment at the Center for the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal Sates (CAPPS) will be invited to participate in a weekly, adjunctive, closed psychoeducation group focused on sharing health promotion strategies and increasing health behaviors (e.g. improved sleep habits, increased participation in physical activity). The aim of the group will be to provide psychoeducation on lifestyle risk and protective factors for youth at risk for psychosis (i.e. experiencing subthreshold psychosis symptoms). Topics covered will include psychoeducation, goal setting, stress management, sleep, physical activity, substance use, and nutrition. Evidence-based strategies to decrease risk factors and promote protective lifestyle factors for mental illness will be reviewed. Group leaders will utilize a motivational interviewing approach to facilitate the group. The group will complete twelve weekly group sessions. The goal of our research is to 1) determine the feasibility of a novel group-based health promotion intervention, 2) assess the social validity of the group, 3) measure the effects of the intervention on stress, sleep, physical activity, substance use, and nutrition, and 4) measure preliminary effects on symptoms and functioning.

    at UCLA

  • Mobile CBT for Negative Symptoms

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    This randomized controlled clinical trial will test a combined group contact plus mobile CBT-informed skills training intervention targeting defeatist attitudes in consumers with schizophrenia in comparison to a supportive contact control group in order to change motivational negative symptoms linked to defeatist attitudes.

    at UCSD

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in Serious Mental Illness

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    Serious mental illnesses (SMI) like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are two of the most disabling and costly chronic illnesses worldwide. A high proportion of adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but tend to be underdiagnosed and undertreated compared to the general population. This study aims to examine feasibility, acceptance, and impact of OSA treatment and how it affects cognitive function in people with SMI.

    at UCSD

  • Treatment of Cognitive and Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia With N-acetylcysteine

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    The purpose of this study is to attempt to treat cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, with the nutritional supplement N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects approximately 65 million people worldwide, and causes significant disability and suffering. Patients with schizophrenia often hear voices and have persecutory delusions. Though these are the most recognizable features of the illness, the deficits most closely linked to disability are known as cognitive deficits and negative symptoms. Cognitive abilities refer to the ability to perform mental tasks that require focus and attention, and also include memory and verbal skills. Negative symptoms refer to a lack of interest in the world, and decreased social interactions. In our study, the investigators aim to improve these symptoms and deficits by targeting the glutamate system. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, and its regulation is abnormal in schizophrenia: glutamate levels are too low at some receptors, and too high at others. As well, free radicals surrounding glutamate receptors also interfere with their proper function. N-acetylcystine (NAC) is a safe and widely-available dietary supplement that may restore glutamate to its correct levels in the brain, and may also help protect the brain from antioxidant damage. In our study, patients with schizophrenia will be randomly assigned to receive either NAC or placebo for 8 weeks. Brain levels of glutamate and an important antioxidant, glutathione, will be measured before and after treatment, using a neuroimaging technique known as magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Cognitive and negative symptoms will also be assessed before, during and after treatment. The investigators hypothesize that glutamate and glutathione will be normalized in patients' brains, and that their negative and cognitive symptoms will be improved, too.

    at UCLA

Our lead scientists for Schizophrenia research studies include .

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