Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of remotely delivering cognitive training to people with schizophrenia using tablets

Bruno Biagianti, Melissa Fisher, Lisa Howard, Abby Rowlands, Sophia Vinogradov, Joshua Woolley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Limited access to Cognitive Training (CT) for people with schizophrenia (SZ) prevents widespread adoption of this intervention. Delivering CT remotely via tablets may increase accessibility, improve scheduling flexibility, and diminish patient burden. Methods In this reanalysis of data from a larger trial of CT, we compared two samples of individuals with SZ who chose to complete 40 h of CT either on desktop computers in the laboratory (N = 33) or remotely via iPads (N = 41). We examined attrition rates and adherence to training, and investigated whether remote iPad-based CT and in-person desktop-based CT induced significantly different improvements in cognitive and real-world functioning. Results The attrition rate was 36.6%. On average, participants completed 3.06 h of CT per week. There were no significant between-group differences in attrition and adherence to CT requirements. Participants who completed iPad-based CT were significantly younger and had lower symptoms at baseline compared to participants who completed CT on the lab desktops. Controlling for age and symptom severity, rANCOVA showed that iPad-based and desktop-based CT similarly and significantly improved verbal learning and problem solving. Main effects of time, at trend level significance, were evident in global cognition, verbal memory, quality of life, and social functioning. All group by time interactions were non-significant except for verbal memory, where iPad users showed greater gains. Within-group effect sizes for changes in outcomes were in the small range. Conclusion Although underpowered and not randomized, this study demonstrates that delivering CT remotely to people with SZ using tablets is feasible and results in retention rates, adherence, and cognitive and functional outcome improvements that are comparable to those observed when CT is delivered in the laboratory. This has important implications in terms of scalability and dissemination of CT. These results require confirmation in larger samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Cognitive remediation
  • Mobile health
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Schizophrenia

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