R. Walter Heinrichs’ Article “The Primacy of Cognition in Schizophrenia” explores the need for understanding when it comes to schizophrenia and cognition. The article explores early observations and treatments of schizophrenia, as well as explaining the importance of knowing that the disease is much more than its sensationalized version of hallucinations and erratic behavior. Schizophrenia is actually noted to involve “disturbances in attention, memory, reasoning, and judgement” (Heinrichs, 2005, p. 229). It is good that a brief history of the disease and its study is given early in the article, as it helps to set the stage for the rest of the piece.
Heinrichs brings up many points in his article, but one that is implied is that there are so many different aspects to schizophrenia that the disease itself is its own course of study. Because of this huge scale, researchers have to work with certain types of studies, and the studies observed in this article were considered cognitive studies because they measured internal processes with external means, such as electrophysiological recordings (Heinrichs, 2005, p. 230). However, even these types of studies have flawed areas, as factors such as medication and chronic illnesses other than schizophrenia may influence the results of cognitive studies (p. 233).
One of the most interesting aspects of this article was its assurance that there are constantly new treatments and research methods being developed to help counter the disease. It is never a stagnant process; work is constantly being done, as every day new discoveries are made related to schizophrenia. While this is true for more diseases than just this one, it is exciting because for decades schizophrenia has been the proverbial monster in the closet; no one really understands it, but it is difficult to get close enough to do so. Now, it is important to understand cognitive differences between those with schizophrenia and those without, and it is these understandings that are going to help propel research and treatment even further. The progress made even in the last twenty years is astounding.