Strategy for Semantic Association Memory (SESAME) training: Effects on brain functioning in schizophrenia.

TitleStrategy for Semantic Association Memory (SESAME) training: Effects on brain functioning in schizophrenia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGuimond S, Béland S, Lepage M
JournalPsychiatry Res Neuroimaging
Date Published2018 Jan 30

Self-initiation of semantic encoding strategies is impoverished in schizophrenia and contributes to memory impairments. Recently, we observed that following a brief training, schizophrenia patients had the potential to increase the self-initiation of these strategies. In this study, we investigated the neural correlates underlying such memory improvements. Fifteen schizophrenia patients with deficits in self-initiation of semantic encoding strategies were enrolled in a Strategy for Semantic Association Memory (SESAME) training. Patients underwent a memory task in an fMRI scanner. Memory performance and brain activity during the task were measured pre- and post- training, and changes following training were assessed. We also investigated if structural preservation measured by the cortical thickness of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) predicted memory improvement post-training. Memory training led to significant improvements in memory performance that were associated with increased activity in the left DLPFC, during a task in which patients needed to self-initiate semantic encoding strategies. Furthermore, patients with more cortical reserve in their left DLPFC showed greater memory improvement. Our findings provide evidence of neural malleability in the left DLPFC in schizophrenia using cognitive strategies training. Moreover, the brain-behavioural changes observed in schizophrenia provide hope that memory performance can be improved with a brief intervention.

Alternate JournalPsychiatry Res Neuroimaging
PubMed ID29102504

McGill Logo

CIUSSS ouest montreal logo


  • Douglas Hospital
  • Dobell Pavillion
  • Brain imaging centre