The benefits of cognitive training after a coronary artery bypass graft surgery

J Behav Med. 2012 Oct;35(5):557-68. doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9384-y. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


Cognitive deficits are frequent after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) in the elderly population. In fact, memory and attention deficits can persist several months after the surgery. Recent studies with healthy older adults have shown that memory and attention can be improved through cognitive training programs. The present study examined whether memory training (method of loci and story generation) and attentional training (dual-task computerized training) could improve cognitive functions in patients aged 65 years and older who underwent CABG surgery. Participants (n = 51) were assigned to one of three groups: (1) control group (tested at 1, 3 and 6 months after the surgery), (2) attention training followed by memory training, (3) memory training followed by attention training (groups 2 and 3: tested at 1, 2, 3 and 6 months after the surgery). The trainings took place between the 6th and 10th week following the surgery. The three groups were compared before and after each training program using attention and memory tests and neuropsychological tests. The results showed that attention and memory trainings lead to significant improvement in the cognitive domain that was trained. It thus seems that cognitive training can be a promising tool to enhance cognitive functions after a CABG surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attention*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome