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.


  1. Eileen Gravelle on October 28, 2006 at 11:04

    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 on October 28, 2006 at 5:01

    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!

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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