Using Brain Plasticity to Improve Cognition in Patients with Schizophrenia

Over fifty million people in the world suffer from schizophrenia. The brain disease makes it difficult for patients to discern what their brain tells them from what the rest of us experience as reality. The disease worsens as time goes by, and is difficult to treat medically because patients’ delusions and hallucinations often prevent them from cooperating. The diagnosis can introduce an extreme of helplessness in patients and those who care for them. Is there any hope?

Srikantan Nagarajan, PhD's remarkable work on multimodal imaging of brain plasticity strongly suggests there is great hope for improvement. He and colleagues helped devise computerized brain training activities that not only led to significant improvements in cognition in people with schizophrenia but also documented corresponding improvements in brain networks mediating these cognitive changes.

Dr. Nagarajan's neural engineering research translates ideas developed on a white-board to the bedside by developing novel brain imaging technologies for diagnosis and assessment in various patient populations. Dr. Nagarajan's current translational research program includes conducting multimodal brain imaging studies in people with autism, dementia, tinnitus, brain tumors, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and voice disorders. Dr. Nagarajan has been a principal or co-principal investigator in numerous NIH, NSF, and DoD grants for his research.

To learn more about Dr. Nagarajan’s brain imaging research, watch this PBS documentary feature.  

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