Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Cognitive Deficits in Psychiatric Disorders: Current Status

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Cognitive Deficits in Psychiatric Disorders: Current Status

Article excerpt

Byline: J. Trivedi

Cognition denotes a relatively high level of processing of specific information including thinking, memory, perception, motivation, skilled movements and language. Cognitive psychology has become an important discipline in the research of a number of psychiatric disorders, ranging from severe psychotic illness such as schizophrenia to relatively benign, yet significantly disabling, non-psychotic illnesses such as somatoform disorder. Research in the area of neurocognition has started unlocking various secrets of psychiatric disorders, such as revealing the biological underpinnings, explaining the underlying psychopathology and issues related to course, outcome and treatment strategies. Such research has also attempted to uproot a number of previously held concepts, such as Kraepelin's dichotomy. Although the range of cognitive problems can be diverse, there are several cognitive domains, including executive function, attention and information processing, and working memory, which appear more frequently at risk. A broad range of impairment across and within the psychiatric disorders are highlighted in this oration. The oration summarizes the studies investigating cognitive processing in different psychiatric disorders. I will also discuss the findings of my own research on neurocognitive deficits in mood disorders, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, somatoform disorder, including studies on 'high-risk' individuals. Tracing the evaluation of neurocognitive science may provide new insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Introduction

To begin with, I am immensely thankful to the Indian Psychiatric Society for bestowing the honour on me-to deliver this prestigious oration. This oration has enabled me to pay my tributes to Late Dr DLN Murthy Rao-the renowned psychiatrist who has helped many in the Indian psychiatry to reach the present height. I wish to pay my gratitude and sincere thanks to my teachers Late Professor B.B. Sethi, Professor A.K. Agarwal, Professor Narottam Lal, Professor S.C. Gupta and Shri P.K, Sinha for their blessings and support. I feel extremely privileged as I stand before you and focus on one of the most interesting topic in psychiatry-'Cognition'.

Cognitive psychology has become an important area of research in a number of psychiatric disorders, ranging from severe psychotic illness such as schizophrenia to relatively benign, yet significantly disabling, non-psychotic illnesses such as somatoform disorder. Research in the area of neurocognition has started unlocking various secrets of psychotic disorders, such as revealing the biological underpinnings, explaining the underlying psychopathology and issues related to course, outcome and treatment strategies.

This oration summarizes the studies investigating cognitive processing in different psychiatric disorders, with an emphasis on recent concepts. I will also discuss the findings of my team's research on neurocognitive deficits in mood disorder (including a high-risk group study), schizophrenia, obsessive- compulsive disorder and somatoform disorder carried out in the Department of Psychiatry, K.G. Medical University, Lucknow. Tracing the evolution of neurocognitive science may provide new insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Cognition

Cognition in a broad sense means information processing. It denotes a relatively high level of processing of specific information including thinking, memory, perception, motiva-tion, skilled movements and language. The hippocampus contains the neural circuitry crucial for cognitive functions such as learning and memory. It refers to the perceptual and intellectual aspects of mental functioning. Among the specific functions that may be assessed in determining the intactness or adequacy of cognition are orientation, the ability to learn necessary skills, solve problems, think abstractly, reason and make judgements, the ability to retain and recall events, mathematical ability and other forms of symbol manipulation, control over primitive reactions and behaviour, language use and comprehension, attention, perception and praxis. …

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