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Feasibility of cognitive remediation therapy for adults with autism spectrum disorders: a single-group pilot study

Authors Okuda T, Asano K, Numata N, Hirano Y, Yamamoto T, Tanaka M, Matsuzawa D, Shimizu E, Iyo M, Nakazato M

Received 11 May 2017

Accepted for publication 4 July 2017

Published 16 August 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 2185—2191

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S141555

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi


Tomoko Okuda,1,2 Kenichi Asano,1,3 Noriko Numata,4 Yoshiyuki Hirano,1,3 Tetsuya Yamamoto,5 Mari Tanaka,4 Daisuke Matsuzawa,4 Eiji Shimizu,1,3,4 Masaomi Iyo,5,6 Michiko Nakazato1,3,6

1Division of Cognitive Behavioral Science, United Graduate School of Child Development, Osaka University, Kanazawa University, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Chiba University and University of Fukui, Chiba-shi, Chiba, 2Department of Psychiatry, Chibaken Saiseikai Narashino Hospital, Narashino, 3Research Center for Child Mental Development, Chiba University, 4Department of Cognitive Behavioral Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 5Center for Forensic Mental Health, Chiba University, 6Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Background: Set-shifting (SS) difficulties and weak central coherence (CC) are commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) aims to improve such cognitive processing; however, there are no reports on CRT for patients with ASD. This pilot study aimed to provide preliminary evidence to support the use of CRT for individuals with ASD and provide data to inform future studies.
Participants and methods: Nineteen individuals with ASD were recruited and administered a series of neuropsychological and questionnaire measures to examine cognitive function and clinical outcomes such as anxiety and depression. Participants received CRT, and cognitive function and clinical variables were re-evaluated at postintervention and after 3 months.
Results: The participants demonstrated significant improvement in CC and anxiety at postintervention, which was maintained at 3-month follow-up. Although SS scores had improved with a large effect size, this was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: CRT improved CC and anxiety scores for individuals with ASD, suggesting that CRT is an effective treatment for individuals with ASD.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, cognitive remediation therapy, cognitive flexibility, central coherence

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