Barbara Schwartz – Publications

N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function in memory. 

The aim of this research was to study the potential of drugs acting at the NMDA receptor glycine modulatory site to enhance memory and cognition in older adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease.  We showed that potentiation of the NMDA receptor complex improved multiple aspects of memory and learning both in healthy volunteers and those with cognitive disorders. 

  • Schwartz, B.L., Hashtroudi, S., Herting, R.L., Handerson, H., and Deutsch, S.I.  (1991). Glycine prodrug facilitates memory retrieval in humans.  Neurology, 41, 1341-1343.
  • Schwartz, B.L., Hashtroudi, S., Herting, R.L., and Deutsch, S.I. (1992).  The effects of milacemide on item and source memory.  Clinical Neuropharmacology, 15, 114-119.
  • Schwartz, B.L., Hashtroudi, S., Herting, R.L., Schwartz, P., and Deutsch, S.I. (1996) d-Cycloserine enhances implicit memory in Alzheimer patients.  Neurology, 46, 420-424.

Implicit learning in schizophrenia.

Implicit learning refers to acquiring information or skills without awareness of what has been learned. We showed that implicit learning of sequential regularities (visuomotor patterns) was impaired in schizophrenia.  The results suggest that individuals with the disorder may have difficulty learning about subtle predictable patterns in the environment.

  • Schwartz, B.L., Howard, D.V., Howard, J.H, Jr., Hovaguimian, A., & Deutsch, S.I.  (2003). Implicit learning of visuospatial sequences in schizophrenia. Neuropsychology, 17, 517-533.

Social attention and learning in schizophrenia.

Nonverbal social cues such as facial expression are often processed implicitly, outside the focus of attention. In this research we showed that implicit processing of gaze direction and threat-related expressions was intact in schizophrenia.  However, functional brain imaging showed that individuals with the disorder had altered sensitivity to stimuli in regions of the ventral visual processing stream that underlie early perceptual learning of objects and faces.

  • Schwartz, B.L., Vaidya, C.V., Howard, J.H., Jr., & Deutsch, S.I. (2010). Attention to gaze and emotion in schizophrenia. Neuropsychology. 24(6), 711-720.
  • Schwartz, B.L., Vaidya, C.V., Shook, D., & Deutsch, S.I. (2013). Neural basis of implicit memory for socio-emotional information in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research 206 173–180. 

Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7 nAChRs) and schizophrenia.

Evidence of abnormal functioning of α7 nAChRs in schizophrenia has led to interest in the development of pharmacological strategies that target this receptor system.  Together with Stephen Deutsch and Nina Schooler, we showed that an α7 nAChR agonist strategy (combination CDP-choline and galantamine) improved a global measure of functioning and episodic recall in individuals with schizophrenia.

  • Deutsch, S.I., Schwartz, B.L., Schooler, N.R., Brown, C.H., Rosse, R.B., & Rosse, S.M. (2013). Targeting alpha-7 nicotinic neurotransmission in schizophrenia: a novel agonist strategy. Schizophrenia Research, 148, 138–144.