Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a brain-training game that could improve the daily lives of people with schizophrenia.
They tested the computer-based game on a small number of patients who played the game over four weeks found improvements in memory and learning.
This could help people to get back to work or studying after a diagnosis.
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes a range of psychological symptoms, from behavior changes to hallucinations.
Many patients also experience cognition problems, which affect their memory and ability to function independently.
It asks players to enter rooms, find items in boxes and remember where they put them, testing their so-called episodic memory.
Prof. Barbara Sahakian, from the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and who researched the impact of the game, said patients who played it made significantly fewer errors in tests afterwards on their memory and brain functioning.
She said this was an indication that they were better prepared to function in the real world.
Prof. Barbara Sahakian said treating the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia was important, but slow progress was being made towards developing a drug treatment.
She added that the memory game could help where drugs had so far failed – with no side-effects.
The game is available as an app that anyone can play.
Although the results are promising, the research team said more research was needed on larger groups of patients to confirm the findings.
The researchers added that any memory training games had to be used in conjunction with medication and psychological therapies.