Comprehensive cognitive training improves attention and memory in patients with severe or moderate traumatic brain injury

Appl Neuropsychol Adult. Nov-Dec 2020;27(6):570-579. doi: 10.1080/23279095.2019.1576691. Epub 2019 Mar 18.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to cognitive disorders, the most frequently affected functions being attention and memory. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of a cognitive rehabilitation program, consisting of individual and group interventions, on attention and memory in patients with TBI. Fifteen patients-in the postacute phase of recovery from moderate-to-severe TBI and subsequent cognitive disorders-were enrolled on a three-week waiting list and then underwent a three-week cognitive rehabilitation program. The patients were assessed using a set of five neuropsychological attention and memory tests. The patients and their caregivers were questioned to assess subjective changes in the everyday functioning of the former. The introduction of cognitive training was associated with improvement in one memory test and in two measures of attention. Mean effect size across all tests was higher over the period with treatment compared to the period without (d = 0.36 vs. 0.03). Both patients and caregivers reported significant improvements in everyday functioning (p < .05). There were no further improvements at the four-month follow-up assessment. A comprehensive program of cognitive rehabilitation may improve attention and memory, as well as everyday cognitive functioning, in patients with severe or moderate TBI.

Keywords: Attention; cognitive training; memory; traumatic brain injury.