Pitt to Apply $3.1M to Schizophrenia Study
Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
University of Pittsburgh researchers will use a $3.1 million grant to push for better understanding and treatment of schizophrenia, as advocates urge people to pay attention to mental illness after several mass shootings.
Pitt officials on Monday said Shaun M. Eack, an assistant professor of social work, will oversee the study on treating schizophrenia with cognitive enhancement therapy, paid for with the National Institutes of Mental Health money. The therapy pioneered at Pitt nearly 20 years ago utilizes challenging computer exercises to stimulate memory and weekly group sessions to encourage social development.
Researchers hope such treatment will enable people with schizophrenia to recover enough to return to work or school.
"This project will be one of the first to study how much a non- drug intervention can help address core brain-based impairments in schizophrenia," Eack said. "If successful, it will open a whole new avenue for the treatment of the disorder."
The 18-month study will enroll people ages 18-35 with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophreniform disorder who have been ill for fewer than eight years.
The Pitt researchers will collaborate with a team from Harvard University to administer therapies and look at the impact of stimulating areas of the brain that affect attention, memory and problem-solving abilities.
Mental health advocates and lawmakers are debating the relationship between mental illness and gun violence after December's shooting of 26 students and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and other mass shootings. …