Social Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia: Can Virtual Reality and Brain Stimulation be a Solution?

Researchers of this review look into the possible role of virtual reality (VR) and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) technologies in the treatment of social cognitive impairment. They note that impairments of social cognition are not as recognized as other characteristics of schizophrenia including delusions and hallucinations. Having poor social cognition can result in challenges that may include acquiring and keeping a job, academic growth, interpersonal relationships, and community engagement. The researchers state that interventions to date are highly intensive, need considerable resources, and have only modest functional results. They propose that VR and NIBS may address these limitations. The combination of the two may permit greater efficient and transferrable interventions compared with options that are accessible as of present.

Reference: Gainsford K, Fitzgibbon B, Fitzgerald PB, Hoy KE. Transforming treatments for schizophrenia: Virtual reality, brain stimulation and social cognition. Psychiatry Res. 2020;288:112974. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112974

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