Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic mental illness that is debilitating to the individual and ranks among the top 10 causes of disability in developed countries worldwide.

While the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia are often the most obvious, it is the cognitive impairments associated with the disorder that have the largest impact on patient functioning. These impairments affect cognitive  functions  such  as  attention  and  memory  and  impede  the  ability  of  an  individual  with schizophrenia to successfully navigate through work, relationships and everyday life.

Raloxifene has been shown in clinical trials to improve cognitive performance in men and women with schizophrenia when taken with their current antipsychotic medication. While it is one of the most promising treatment advances yet, it was only effective in 40% of patients. Therefore, we need to find out whether other drugs with similar modes of action can help treat cognitive impairments.

In this project, we will determine whether improving  gamma  oscillations  is  a  viable  treatment option for improving cognition in schizophrenia. If we show that raloxifene improves cognition by having specific effects on brain activity, we can screen other drugs in the same rat  model  to determine whether they will be effective using a much faster and cheaper means than a clinical trial. This will ultimately lead to better therapeutic options, earlier, for patients with cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia.

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