Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1 percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime -- more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year. Although available medications are reasonably effective in treating the positive symptoms of the illness such as hallucinations and delusions, recent research indicates that cognitive impairments in areas such as attention, memory and problem solving are responsible for much of the disability associated with the disease.
"Unfortunately, the medications currently available do little to remedy this aspect of the illness. Consequently, many patients have serious residual symptoms and only one in five are able to recover sufficiently to work," said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of NIMH.
The NIMH approach is built on the assumption that progress in developing new treatments will require collaboration between the best academic, government and industry scientists. The TURNS is one component of a multipronged NIMH effort to stimulate academic and industry sponsored research focused on cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. It follows completion of the Measurement and Treatment Research for Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS). The goals of MATRICS are to identify the most promising science-based ideas regarding the neurochemical basis of these deficits, and to achieve a broad academic, industry and regulatory agreement on the best way to measure cognition in clinical trials.
NIMH is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.