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Cogmed’s Working Memory Training in CHADD (ADD/ADHD)

Am getting ready for CHADD conference in Chicago later this week. Will get to meet the Cogmed team, including Dr. Torkel Klingberg, coming from Sweden for the ocassion.

A number of people have asked me for some preliminary information from the replication studies done based on Cogmed’s Working Memory Training Program. Here you have a couple of univeristy articles (peer-reviewed journal papers take longer to appear):

University’s of Notre Dame’s New ADHD intervention yields promising results: “ADHD is thought to be an impairment of the brain’s executive functioning, possibly the working memory,” Gibson says. “For people with ADHD, the ability to hold information temporarily in mind is especially vulnerable to distraction. So organizing behavior across time–like remembering the series of things to do in order to get ready in the morning–requires the ability to suppress distraction, and kids with ADHD have trouble with that.”. “After this training, the majority of students did report improvements in behavior and symptoms of their ADHD, are doing more and can handle more. Their parents also noticed changes and improvements.”

“Gibson reports that areas like reading comprehension also improved, allowing students to work at higher levels and maintain their new-found abilities.”

Stanford University’s RoboMemo remobilizes working memory: “Computerized cognitive training effectively improved regular students’ short-term memory and ability to control cognitive tasks in a school setting,” Yuan says. “Further studies are warranted to examine the training’s impact on students’ fluid intelligence and science achievement.”

In short: good results for kids with ADD/ ADHD, which has been the core focus of the research and program so far. More research is needed to assess the benefits for everyone’s science (and math) skills.

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent article – the link between dance and brain health is not something I had considered before. Is there an additional benefit in the fact that music is involved in dance and there is a well known connection between music and brain function?

  2. Caroline says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

    Yes, there are multiple benefits to dance – the physical motor coordination; the brain skills for memory, spatial orientation, pattern recognition, and planning; the sensory processing from the music and touch; as well as social interaction and communication. Complex music (like Mozart, Schubert, and even Yanni) has been shown to lead to a temporary increase in spatial IQ. And while listening to music has some benefit, it’s learning to play music that has the most beneficial impact on brain health. Dancing to music though could easily lead to those same improvements in spatio-temporal processing seen with piano playing. In the same way that a piano keyboard gives a visual linear representation of pitch, the dance steps give a visual pattern and structure to rythym.

    We’ll be looking for you on Dancing with the Stars now!
    -Caroline

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