Enhancing Cognitive Training Through Exercise Following a First Schizophrenia Episode
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.
- a first episode of a psychotic illness that began within the past two years;
- a diagnosis by DSM-5 of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mainly depressed type, or schizophreniform disorder;
- sufficient acculturation and fluency in the English language to avoid invalidating research measures; and
- residence likely to be within commuting distance of the UCLA Aftercare Research Program.
- inability to participate in aerobic exercise;
- evidence of a known neurological disorder (e.g., epilepsy) or significant head injury;
- evidence of moderate or severe alcohol or substance use disorder within the six months prior to the first episode or evidence that substance abuse triggered the psychotic episode or makes the schizophrenia diagnosis ambiguous; or
- mental retardation, i.e. estimated premorbid IQ less than 70.