Recent progress of disease-modifying approach to the treatment for Alzheimer's disease
Prospects for the understanding impairments of social emotions in neuropsychiatric disorders
In the first part, I present our fMRI studies about moral emotions. Moral emotions (guilt, shame and embarrassment) are called self-conscious emotions. Self-conscious emotions are emotions founded in social relationship and arise from concerns about others' opinions of self or the behavior of self. Negative evaluation of self or the behavior of self is fundamental to guilt, shame, and embarrassment, and positive evaluation of self is important for pride. Our results support the notion that recognizing these emotions requiring the ability to understand mental states of others. In the second part, I provide our findings about the neural correlates of painful emotions, jealousy and envy. Although envy and jealousy are used interchangeably in daily usage, research shows that these two emotions are actually different. Jealousy typically involves three people and occurs when one fears losing someone to another person. We found gender differences in neural correlates of jealousy. Envy typically involves two people and occurs when one lacks something enjoyed by another. We often evaluate self and others from social comparisons. We feel envy when the target person has superior and self-relevant characteristics. Schadenfreude occurs when envied persons fall from grace. The fMRI results indicate that social comparison play substantial roles in these social pain and pleasure. The findings also suggest that the central process of social pain and pleasure overlap those of physical pain and pleasure.
Relation among cognitive dysfunction, quality of life and clinical symptoms in schizophrenia patients
Recently, cognitive dysfunction of schizophrenia patients has been paid much more attention because it may lead to poor social functioning. Cognitive dysfunction is thought to be a core feature of schizophrenia, and it has been reported that cognitive functions of schizophrenia patients are of the order of one to two standard deviations below the mean of healthy controls in several cognitive dimensions, particularly memory, attention, verbal fluency, and executive function (Kraus et al, 2007; Savilla et al, 2008). As for outcome variables, quality of life is thought to be one of the key outcome variables in the treatment of schizophrenia, and the importance of evaluating it has been increasing in patient care and clinical research. Previous studies have revealed that some clinical factors such as negative and positive symptoms, depressive symptom, and extrapyramidal adverse effect are associated with lowered quality of life (Tomotake et al, 2006; Aki et al, 2008). In addition, some research groups have studied the relation between quality of life and cognitive function in people with schizophrenia, and reported the significant correlations between quality of life and some domains of cognitive function such as verbal memory, vocabulary, fluency performance, attention, social knowledge, and executive function (Dickerson et al, 1998; Addington et al, 2000; Bozikas et al, 2006; Savilla et al, 2008). Although, considering the results of previous studies, it is clear that cognitive dysfunctions and some clinical symptoms are significantly associated with lowered quality of life in schizophrenia patients, it seems to remain unclear how much impact these factors have on patients' quality of life.In this symposium, we will introduce the recent findings of our studies about the relation between cognitive dysfunction, quality of life, and clinical symptoms, and discuss some issues related to cognitive dysfunction of schizophrenia.
Neurophysiological basis for cognitive defi cits of schizophrenia and effect of psychotropic drugs
There is considerable evidence for associations between social functioning/community outcome and cognitive function, as evaluated by neuropsychological tests, such as the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery in patients with schizophrenia.1 Therefore, neural substrates underlying impaired cognitive performance need to be elucidated.
Social cognition in schizophrenia: Why is it important and how can we improve it?
Social cognition (i.e., the mental operations that underlie social interactions, including perceiving, interpreting, and generating responses to the intentions and behaviors of others) has become a high-priority area of research in the study of schizophrenia. Social cognition is considered to be a valuable domain for schizophrenia research because it appears to be a determinant of functional outcome in schizophrenia, and it appears to be involved in the formation of certain psychotic symptoms. In addition, social cognition can be used to explore the pathophysiology of schizophrenia through applications of various neuroscience methods, including fMRI and EEG. The findings that social cognition correlates with functional outcome in schizophrenia have generated follow up questions, including whether social cognition explains unique variance in outcome, and whether social cognition mediates the association between neurocognition and outcome. Several studies indicate that social cognition explains variance beyond that explained by neurocognition, and that it acts as a mediator in models of functional outcome. The stability of social cognitive impairment across phase of illness was recently examined in prodromal, first episode, and chronic patients and their matched control groups. All clinical groups showed comparable level of impairment, indicating that impairment in social cognition in schizophrenia is relatively stable across phase of illness. Because social cognition is related to functional outcome, social cognitive deficits are promising treatment targets for new interventions to improve functional outcome in schizophrenia. This talk will present data from two studies that evaluated a new social cognitive skills training program designed to address four aspects of social cognition (affect perception, social perception, attributional style, Theory of Mind) in stable outpatients with psychosis. These validation trials show that training for social cognition can improve social cognitive abilities, but the results do not generalize well to other types of functions. These trials are leading to new versions of this treatment approach with the aim of achieving broader improvements in social cognition and eventual generalization of treatment gains.