Patients with schizophrenia have pronounced deficits in memory for events--episodic memory. These deficits severely affect patients' quality of life and functional outcome, and current medications have only a modest effect, making episodic memory an important domain for translational development of clinical trial paradigms. The current article provides a brief review of the significant progress that cognitive neuroscience has made in understanding basic mechanisms of episodic memory formation and retrieval that were presented and discussed at the first CNTRICS (Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia) meeting in Washington, D.C. During that meeting a collaborative decision was made that measures of item-specific and relational memory were the most promising constructs for immediate translational development. A brief summary of research on episodic memory in schizophrenia is presented to provide a context for investigating item-specific and relational memory processes. Candidate brain regions are also discussed.
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