Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experimental Drug May Address Working Memory Impairments That Occur In Schizophrenia

Date:
December 2, 2008
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
In one of the first instances of targeted drug design in psychiatric treatment, researchers have found an experimental agent that shows promise in addressing working memory impairments that occur in the schizophrenia.

In one of the first instances of targeted drug design in psychiatric treatment, University of Pittsburgh researchers have found an experimental agent that shows promise in addressing working memory impairments that occur in the schizophrenia.

The study breaks new ground in the strategy used to develop new pharmacological treatments for schizophrenia, explained David Lewis, M.D., UPMC Endowed Chair in Translational Neuroscience in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and lead author of the study that appears in this month's American Journal of Psychiatry.

"The drugs we use now to treat psychiatric disorders are based on serendipitous discoveries made several decades ago," he said. "In contrast, in this study we have identified a faulty brain circuit in schizophrenia, found an agent with characteristics that affect a specific molecular target in that circuit, and then tested it to see what happened."

The effectiveness of the experimental drug on cognition was measured with well-established tests of working memory and with EEG, or electroencephalogram, rather than solely with standard clinical assessment.

Earlier research indicated that a reduction of signaling by the neurotransmitter GABA in circuits in an area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may be to blame for some of the cognitive problems in schizophrenia, Dr. Lewis explained.

To compensate for the lower levels of GABA, it appears that a biochemical feedback loop increases the number of a specific type of GABA receptor on neurons to capture more neurotransmitter. The study drug, MK-0777, binds to the alpha-2 subunit of the GABAA receptor and, when GABA is present, increases the flow of ions through the receptor, in essence "turning up the volume" on GABA signaling.

For the study, 15 men with schizophrenia between the ages of 18 and 50 were randomly assigned to take either MK-0777 or a placebo for four weeks. They underwent neuropsychological tests at baseline, two weeks and four weeks after starting the drug, as well as an EEG assessment while doing a cognitive task.

The researchers found that participants who took MK-0777 had improvements in both working memory, meaning the ability to keep information in mind to guide behavior, and the EEG signal that accompanies working memory. Also, the drug was well tolerated. Still, because the study is small, more trials will have to be done to verify the value of the experimental compound, Dr. Lewis noted.

The study was funded by grants from Merck, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Experimental Drug May Address Working Memory Impairments That Occur In Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081201105704.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2008, December 2). Experimental Drug May Address Working Memory Impairments That Occur In Schizophrenia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081201105704.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Experimental Drug May Address Working Memory Impairments That Occur In Schizophrenia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081201105704.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins