Aim: To examine the effects of working memory (WM) training in adult patients with stroke.
Methods: A randomized pilot study with a treatment group and a passive control group; 18 participants (12 males) in a vocational age group (mean age 54 years) were randomized to either the treatment or the control condition. The intervention consisted of computerized training on various WM tasks for five weeks. A neuropsychological test battery and self-rating on cognitive functioning in daily life (the CFQ) were administered both before and after the treatment.
Results: Statistically significant training effects were found on the non-trained tests for WM and attention, i.e., tests that measure related cognitive functions but are not identical to tasks in the training programme (Span board p < 0.05; PASAT p < 0.001; Ruff 2&7 p < 0.005). There was a significant decrease in symptoms of cognitive problems as measured by the CFQ (p < 0.005).
Conclusion: More than one year after a stroke, systematic WM training can significantly improve WM and attention.