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Schizophrenia clinical trials at University of California Health

27 in progress, 15 open to eligible people

Showing trials for
  • Brain Stimulation on Higher-Order Cognition

    open to eligible people ages 18-50

    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

  • Test Long-term Safety of Iclepertin in People With Schizophrenia Who Took Part in a Previous CONNEX Study

    open to eligible people ages 18-51

    This study is open to adults with schizophrenia who took part in a previous CONNEX study (study 1346-0011, 1346-0012, or 1346-0013). The purpose of this study is to find out how well people with schizophrenia can tolerate a medicine called Iclepertin in the long term. Participants take Iclepertin as tablets once a day for 1 year. In addition, all participants take their normal medication for schizophrenia. Participants are in the study for a little more than 1 year. During this time, they visit the study site about 13 times and get about 9 phone calls from the study team. The doctors collect information on any health problems of the participants. Doctors also regularly check the participants' symptoms of schizophrenia.

    at UCLA

  • 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

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

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    Wide ranging cognitive deficits are major drivers of functional decline and poor outcomes in people with schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD). Medications do not target pathophysiological mechanisms thought to underlie these deficits. In the search for interventions targeting underlying cognitive impairment in SZ and BD, we look comprehensively beyond just the brain and 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, and not just the medications used to treat it, is associated with risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and more generally, accelerated aging. Even young people with SZ have increased risk of metabolic disease and cognitive deficits. Sadly, their life span is shortened by 15-20 years. BD is associated with similar but less severe disruptions in glucose and insulin metabolism and life expectancy. 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 and BD. 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. The premise of the work is based on recent evidence that ketogenic diets improve dynamic neural network instability, related to cognitive deficits, aging, and Type 2 diabetes (Mujica-Parodi et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(11):6170-7.). The rigor of the work rests on findings of (1) poor cerebral glucose homeostasis in SZ and BD, (2) neural network instability in SZ and BD, and (3) direct effects of ketosis on network instability. Unknown is whether ketogenic diets can improve network instability in people with SZ and BD.

    at UCSF

  • Brain Stimulation on Cognition, Oscillations and GABA Levels in Schizophrenia

    “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 18-47

    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

  • 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

  • Improving Cognition Through Telehealth Aerobic Exercise and Cognitive Training After a First Schizophrenia Episode

    open to eligible people ages 18-45

    The participants in the study will receive psychiatric treatment at the UCLA Aftercare Research Program. All participants in this 12-month RCT will receive cognitive training. Half of the patients will also be randomly assigned to the aerobic exercise and strength training condition, and the other half will be randomly assigned to the Healthy Living Group condition. The primary outcome measures are improvement in cognition and level of engagement in the in-group and at-home exercise sessions. Increases in the level of the patient's serum brain-derived neurotropic factor (specifically Mature BDNF) which causes greater brain neuroplasticity and is indicator of engagement in aerobic exercise, will be measured early in the treatment phase in order to confirm engagement of this target. In order to demonstrate the feasibility and portability of this intervention outside of academic research programs, the interventions will be provided via videoconferencing. The proposed study will incorporate additional methods to maximize participation in the exercise condition, including the use of the Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) platform to enhance motivation for treatment based on Self-Determination Theory principles, and a "bridging" group to help the participants generalize gains to everyday functioning. In addition, the exercise group participants will receive personally tailored text reminders to exercise.

    at UCLA

  • iTEST: Introspective Accuracy as a Novel Target for Functioning in Psychotic Disorders

    open to eligible people ages 18-65

    People with psychotic disorders experience a high level of functional disability, and a major contributor to this disability is introspective accuracy, which is defined as inaccurate judgements of one's abilities and performance on tasks. Yet, no intervention has directly targeted introspective accuracy for psychotic illnesses. This trial will evaluate a new intervention, called iTEST, that uses mobile devices to train people with psychotic disorders to improve introspective accuracy and, ultimately, functional outcomes

    at UCSD

  • 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 18-64

    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/superior 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

  • 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

  • AMP SCZ® Observational Study: PREDICT-DPACC

    open to eligible people ages 12-30

    The Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ) is a large international collaboration to develop algorithms using a set of clinical and cognitive assessments, multi-modal biomarkers, and clinical endpoints that can be used to predict the trajectories and outcomes of individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis and to advance the testing of pharmacological interventions for CHR individuals in need. The goal is to accurately predict which individuals are likely to remit, experience an acute psychotic episode, or have intermediate outcomes that feature persistent attenuated psychotic and/or mood symptoms along with functional impairment. The prediction algorithms will have the potential to serve as early indicators of treatment efficacy in CHR persons. The AMP SCZ research program is made up of the Psychosis Risk Evaluation, Data Integration, and Computational Technologies - Data Processing, Analysis and Coordination Center (PREDICT-DPACC) and two clinical research networks, the Psychosis-Risk Outcomes Network (ProNET) and the Trajectories and Predictors in the Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Population: Prediction Scientific Global Consortium (PRESCIENT) networks. The two clinical research networks will recruit a large cohort of CHR young people aged 12-30 years (n=1,977) and healthy control (HC) participants (n=640) across 42 participating investigative sites from 13 countries. CHR participants will complete screening, baseline assessments and a battery of follow-up assessments across 18 - 24 months. HC participants will complete screening and baseline assessments and a subset (5 per site) will complete month 2, 12 and 24 visits.

    at UC Irvine UCLA UCSD UCSF

  • Neurophysiologic Biomarkers for Cognitive Rehabilitation

    open to eligible people ages 18-75

    Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia interfere with daily life-from managing self-care, to more complex tasks like taking medications and living independently. Unfortunately, these cognitive symptoms are not corrected by 'standard of care' treatments (antipsychotic medications), although some schizophrenia patients may experience modest clinical and cognitive benefits from cognitive remediation. To enhance the clinical impact of cognitive remediation and other rehabilitative interventions for Veterans living with chronic psychosis, this study will develop novel brain-based tools to help identify those Veterans who are most likely to benefit from pro-cognitive therapies. These studies may advance predictive algorithms that improve functional outcomes and life quality in Veterans with schizophrenia.

    at UCSD

  • 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

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

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    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

  • Single-Arm Clinical Trial Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Amisulpride in Treating Patients With Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder Who Have Treatment-Resistant Positive Symptoms

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    The objectives of this study are to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Amisulpride as an add-on therapy or alternative monotherapy in treating patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who have treatment-resistant positive symptoms and who are not eligible for treatment with clozapine due to intolerance, failure from a prior clozapine trial, or unwillingness to be treated with clozapine.

    at UCLA

  • Iclepertin Effect on Cognition and Functional Capacity in Schizophrenia (CONNEX-2)

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    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 Iclepertin improves learning and memory in people with schizophrenia. Participants are put into two groups randomly, which means by chance. One group takes Iclepertin tablets and the other group takes placebo tablets. Placebo tablets look like Iclepertin 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. During this time, they visit the study site about 15 times and get about 3 phone calls from the study team. The doctors also regularly check participants' health and take note of any unwanted effects.

    at UCLA

  • 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

  • CONNEX-3: A Study to Test Whether Iclepertin Improves Learning and Memory in People With Schizophrenia

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    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 iclepertin improves learning and memory in people with schizophrenia. Participants are put into two groups randomly, which means by chance. One group takes iclepertin tablets and the other group takes placebo tablets. Placebo tablets look like iclepertin 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

  • Context-Aware Mobile Intervention for Social Recovery in Serious Mental Illness

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    This open trial will test a new technology-supported blended intervention, mobile Social Interaction Therapy by Exposure (mSITE), that targets social engagement in consumers with serious mental illness.

    at UCSD

  • Lifestyle Intervention for CHR-P

    Sorry, accepting new patients by invitation only

    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 nine 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

  • Low-dose Buprenorphine as a Modulator of Social Motivation in Schizophrenia

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    Low social motivation is a significant symptom of schizophrenia and is a major cause of disability and suffering for many patients struggling with the illness. Social motivation refers to the drive to participate in or abstain from social activities. Many patients with schizophrenia evidence both decreased drive to seek positive social input (approach motivation) and heightened drive to avoid negative social input (avoidance motivation) compared to individuals without the illness. Despite the enormous burden of these deficits on patients, there are no medications that effectively treat impaired social motivation. Buprenorphine is an unusual drug that is used to treat opioid use disorder at higher doses and more recently, to treat depression and suicidality at lower doses. It is a unique opioid medication that has a compound action that gives it the potential to improve social motivation both by boosting approach motivation and by reducing avoidance motivation. The effects of low doses of buprenorphine have previously. been studied in healthy volunteers, showing that the drug enhances social motivation. These results in nonclinical volunteers suggest that buprenorphine may be a promising treatment for deficits in social motivation seen in some patients with schizophrenia. However, no previous studies have investigated the effects of buprenorphine on social motivation in this population. Here the effects of a low dose of buprenorphine (0.15mg) on social motivation in patients with schizophrenia (N=40) will be assessed. In this double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled study, participants will attend a 2-hour preparatory session and two 6-hour laboratory sessions, at which they will receive either placebo or buprenorphine. During expected peak drug effect they will complete validated tasks assessing social motivation. It is expected that buprenorphine will increase approach motivation and decrease avoidance motivation as measured by an attention bias task. The results of this study will lay the foundation for the clinical use of buprenorphine as the first medication to treat social deficits in schizophrenia.

    at UCLA

  • 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

  • Optimizing CBSST With Executive Function Training for Schizophrenia

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    The purpose of this research study to test a blended intervention that combines Executive Function Training with Cognitive-Behavioral Skills Training (E-CBSST). The aims include determining whether E-CBSST is feasible and increases Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) Skills Learning to a level that will lead to a clinically meaningful improvement in functioning.

    at UCSD

  • Target Engagement and Response to Oxytocin

    Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients

    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

  • MDMA in Schizophrenia

    Sorry, not yet accepting patients

    Impaired social motivation, or "asociality," is a negative symptom of schizophrenia (SCZ) and a cause of significant functional impairment in the illness. Whereas many symptoms of schizophrenia can be treated with antipsychotic medications, deficits in social motivation persist, leading to significant social disability in patients. There is currently no effective treatment for this symptom of the illness. One promising and unexplored avenue to enhance social motivation in schizophrenia is ± 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). MDMA is a psychostimulant that shares some pharmacological properties with amphetamines, but in addition, has pronounced pro-social effects, increasing the motivation to engage socially. In healthy volunteers, it produces feelings of empathy and closeness with others and increases attention to positive social cues, perhaps partly through its effects on the social bonding hormone, oxytocin. MDMA has shown promise in other psychiatric conditions such as PTSD. Thus, MDMA could offer a unique therapeutic benefit in patients with SCZ who suffer from impaired social motivation. The investigators plan to take the first step in testing MDMA as a treatment for these social deficits by testing the tolerability of the drug in patients with SCZ. This will be an open-label, ascending-dose, within-subject trial in which participants will receive 40mg, 80mg, or 120mg of MDMA. The doses will be administered in ascending order, but doses will be stopped if subjects experience moderate or greater psychotic symptoms at 24 hours. This trial will assess the tolerability of the drug in this population and guide in the selection of a maximum well-tolerated dose for future studies. The primary tolerability measure will be clinician-rated psychotic symptoms (disorganized speech, delusions, hallucinations) collected at 24 hours after MDMA administration. The results of this project will lay the foundation for further investigations of MDMA and other psychoactive compounds as a treatment for debilitating and difficult-to-treat social deficits in schizophrenia. Future studies will examine interactions between the effects of psychoactive compounds and nonpharmacologic psychosocial interventions targeting social symptoms.

    at UCLA

Our lead scientists for Schizophrenia research studies include .