New screening test identified

New screening test identified

The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank has assisted researchers internationally with genetic and biological samples to support studies. Most recently, they have supplied a young Newcastle researcher with participants for her study.

Cognitive impairment in individuals with schizophrenia has been well-established in research. Individuals with schizophrenia have been found to have deficits in the areas of memory, executive functioning and attention. These impairments often don’t change too much over time and can impact on a person’s ability to live independently, retain employment and function comfortably in social settings.

In order to reduce these impacts, it is important for clinicians to be able to address and treat any cognitive difficulties. However, there is currently no screening test that is accurate, easy-to-use and widely available that can inform clinicians of the cognitive strengths or weaknesses of their patient.

The current study identified that the Audio Recorded Cognitive Screen (ARCS) could fill this gap. The ARCS is unique in that it is administered via an audio device such as an MP3 or CD player and participants record their answers in a response booklet, making it a test that is both easy to use and access. The administration of the tool requires minimal clinician supervision, no special training, and takes only 35 minutes.

Researchers tested a small group of people from the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank database with and without schizophrenia and found that ARCS may be able to detect cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, particularly with regards to memory and verbal fluency.

“The minimal resources required to administer this test may make it attractive for many community-based clinical settings such as community mental health and disability employment services and could be useful in guiding treatment planning,” said study author Brooke Gelder.

Page last updated: 8:55  28 October 2015