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Modafinil Modulates Anterior Cingulate Function In Chronic Schizophrenia

Sean A. Spence, Russell D. Green, Iain D. Wilkinson, Mike D. Hunter

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BackgroundSchizophrenia is associated with widespread cognitive deficits that have an impact on social function. Modafinil promotes wakefulness and is reported to enhance cognition.AimsTo study the acute effects of modafinil administration upon brain activity and cognitive performance in people with chronic schizophrenia.MethodIn a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design, 19 patients received either modafinil (100 mg) or placebo prior to undertaking a working memory task with functional magnetic resonance imaging.ResultsSeventeen patients completed the study and another underwent acute relapse 4 days post-drug. Modafinil administration was associated with significantly greater activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during the working memory task. The anterior cingulate cortex signal correlated with cognitive performance, although only a subset of patients exhibited ‘enhancement’.ConclusionsModafinil modulates anterior cingulate cortex function in chronic schizophrenia but its beneficial cognitive effects may be restricted to a subset of patients requiring further characterisation.