Computerized Cognitive Rehabilitation of Attention and Executive Function in Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review

J Head Trauma Rehabil. Nov/Dec 2016;31(6):419-433. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000203.


Objective: Comprehensive review of the use of computerized treatment as a rehabilitation tool for attention and executive function in adults (aged 18 years or older) who suffered an acquired brain injury.

Design: Systematic review of empirical research.

Main measures: Two reviewers independently assessed articles using the methodological quality criteria of Cicerone et al. Data extracted included sample size, diagnosis, intervention information, treatment schedule, assessment methods, and outcome measures.

Results: A literature review (PubMed, EMBASE, Ovid, Cochrane, PsychINFO, CINAHL) generated a total of 4931 publications. Twenty-eight studies using computerized cognitive interventions targeting attention and executive functions were included in this review. In 23 studies, significant improvements in attention and executive function subsequent to training were reported; in the remaining 5, promising trends were observed.

Conclusions: Preliminary evidence suggests improvements in cognitive function following computerized rehabilitation for acquired brain injury populations including traumatic brain injury and stroke. Further studies are needed to address methodological issues (eg, small sample size, inadequate control groups) and to inform development of guidelines and standardized protocols.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Cognition*
  • Executive Function*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted*