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Educational Activity

Cognitive and Functional Effects of Atypical Antipsychotic Medications

Philip D. Harvey

Published: October 16, 2006

Article Abstract

Several meta-analyses andsome direct comparative studies of atypical antipsychotics indicate that thesemedications may be more effective than conventional antipsychotic medicationsat enhancing cognition. However, differences in studies exist: short-termstudies of cognitive enhancement may not provide similar results to long-termstudies, while comparative studies are superior to meta-analyses. Directmeasurement of changes in functional capacity may be a desirable study feature,and the population studied, including the treatment subjects receive, is likelyto have a substantial impact on the results. Additionally, cognitive enhancementis not a stand-alone phenomenon. Depression and negative symptoms, for example,also affect an individual with schizophrenia and his or her functioning in thereal world as opposed to within clinical studies.

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