$64K NIH Grant To Improve Mental Health Treatment In Brazil’s State-Run Health Care System

July 3, 2013 - 3:36 PM

Brazilian doctors

Brazilian doctors (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. taxpayers will pay more than $64,000 for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a computer-based treatment program that improves the quality of life for schizophrenics in Brazil's state-run, government-funded healthcare system.

Dr. Sophia Vinogradov, professor in residence at the University of California - San Francisco’'s Department of Psychiatry, will lead a study that hopes to "investigate the usefulness of neuroscience-guided cognitive training for people with schizophrenia when it is delivered in a different culture and language."

The $64,094 grant, which was awarded on April 18 through the NIH's Fogarty International Center and the Office of the Director, will work with Dr. Rogerio Panizzuti, a visiting scientist at UCSF, to first develop a variation of the program in the U.S. that is "culturally appropriate" for Brazil which can then be studied at outpatient facilities run by the Brazilian government's health care system.

Vinogradov hopes that the program can eventually become  self-sustaining at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "This will give insights about the potential worldwide impact of this approach to cognitive training in schizophrenia."

According to the grant abstract, the testing process should take one year, after which a two-year trial experiment will be conducted. It also states that there's an interest in the region to find a treatment or solution that will “improve quality of life” for Brazilian schizophrenics.

"In this project, we will examine whether a promising neuroscience-based computerized cognitive training program under investigation in the U.S. can be successfully adapted for a clinical trial in a developing country," the grant abstract says.

Requests for comment from Dr. Vinogradov were not returned.

However, in a statement to CNSNews.com, NIH explained: "Schizophrenia affects about 24 million people worldwide, and is the second highest mental health disorder in Brazil. The purpose of this study is to investigate the usefulness of neuroscience- guided cognitive training for people with schizophrenia when it is delivered in a different culture and language."

The Fogarty International Center "is dedicated to advancing the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by supporting and facilitating global health research conducted by U.S. and international investigators, building partnerships between health research institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and training the next generation of scientists to address global health needs."

NIH directed any further questions from CNSNews. com to the grant abstract.