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14 March 2019 /

CNS Spectrums: Special issue turns spotlight on cognition in psychiatry

As the global population increases and lifespans expand, the number of people suffering from disabilities related to mental disorders has also increased. And this trend is set to increase substantially over the foreseeable future, according to the guest editor of the latest issue of the journal CNS Spectrums, which turns the spotlight on cognition in mental disorders.

Guest Editor Dr. Roger S. McIntyre—Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto—argues that this trajectory could potentially have a huge impact on our current and future global workforce. The digital revolution has demanded the availability of brain capital for the current “brain” or “cognitive” economy, he writes. Disorders, diseases and syndromes that affect the central nervous system represent the single greatest threat to mental disorders today, he suggests.

With these issues in mind, the special March issue of the journal CNS Spectrums—entitled “Cognition in Psychiatry”—includes contributions from leading global experts who have contributed to the literature with independent thinking and have made a substantial impact in this fascinating field.


The series of 16 articles include a glossary for cognition; current knowledge as it relates to measurement of cognitive function; a synthesis of neuroscience regarding mechanistic substrates and novel heuristic models; as well as an up-to-date summary of existing treatments and possible prevention strategies for cognitive function.
 
Novel strategies for cognitive function are covered, including but not limited to pharmacologic, psychological, and behavioral. The special issue also includes an expert consensus on the assessment and screening of cognitive functions in individuals presenting for clinical care. These are particularly pertinent in the light of new standards for diagnosing and treating cognitive problems across all psychiatric disorders, not just dementia and attention deficit disorder (ADHD) but also mood, psychotic and other disorders.
 
Tacit to this special issue is a pivot in psychiatry toward dimensions/domains-psychopathology, writes Dr. McIntyre. The impetus to create the expert consensus was provided by general recognition of the ubiquity of, hazards posed by, and clinical relevance of cognitive functions in routine clinical practice coupled with the lack of approved interventions for cognition.
 
It is a viable and testable hypothesis, he argues, that targeted therapies for cognitive functions across mental disorders will preserve and enhance human capital so that patients can participate meaningfully in the workplace of the future.

“Cognitive difficulties cut across multiple psychiatric diagnoses and conditions, and it has never been more important to recognize this because a multitude of treatments are available, and improvement of cognition can have massively positive effects on functional outcome in today’s world,” says Editor-in-Chief of CNS Spectrums Dr. Stephen Stahl, Professor at the University of California, San Diego.
 
This special issue of CNS Spectrums is available here. Free online access to the entire issue until April 15, 2019
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