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Evidence review: Cognitive training & remediation works, especially in schizophrenia and healthy aging


Evi­dence That Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Works (Psy­chol­o­gy Today)

Many peo­ple use com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing with the hopes of pre­vent­ing men­tal decline or improv­ing men­tal per­for­mance. But do these brain train­ing games actu­al­ly work? 

A recent arti­cle by Har­vey and col­leagues, in press in Bio­log­i­cal Psy­chi­a­try, eval­u­ates the effects of cog­ni­tive train­ing in schiz­o­phre­nia and healthy aging, con­clud­ing that com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing (CCT) does work…

Source: Arash Emamzadeh (Har­vey et al 2018; ref­er­ence 1)

Using their now expand­ed def­i­n­i­tions of cog­ni­tive train­ing and effec­tive­ness, the authors then review a num­ber of tri­als and meta-analy­ses (on peo­ple with schiz­o­phre­nia, and on old­er adults), and find con­sis­tent evi­dence that cog­ni­tive train­ing is indeed effec­tive, and that it also shows far transfer–transfer of learn­ing from the com­put­er­ized games to real world chal­leng­ing func­tion­al tasks (see 3, in Table 1 above).”

The Study:

Con­tro­ver­sies in Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Train­ing (Bio­log­i­cal Psy­chi­a­try: Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science and Neu­roimag­ing (Bio­log­i­cal Psy­chi­a­try: Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science and Neu­roimag­ing).

  • Abstract: Com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing (CCT) to improve cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing is of enor­mous inter­est and has been applied in a broad range of pop­u­la­tions with goals of improv­ing both cog­ni­tion and com­mu­ni­ty func­tion­ing. Recent reviews pre­sent­ing neg­a­tive con­clu­sions about CCT effi­ca­cy have incon­sis­tent def­i­n­i­tions of the treat­ment tar­gets and cog­ni­tive improve­ment. They do not present an accu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the typ­i­cal process of CCT and cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion (CR), espe­cial­ly as deliv­ered in major men­tal ill­ness­es, such as schiz­o­phre­nia. This review pro­vides guid­ance on the def­i­n­i­tion of CCT and CR, the use of CCT and CR, and the def­i­n­i­tion and mea­sure­ment of cog­ni­tive and func­tion­al gains. The review focus­es on schiz­o­phre­nia and healthy aging, with each pop­u­la­tion receiv­ing unique CCT or CR approach­es, and sub­stan­tial extant lit­er­a­ture with which to elu­ci­date fun­da­men­tal CCT and CR con­cepts and research find­ings. It is our con­clu­sion that CCT has been shown in most stud­ies to improve cog­ni­tive per­for­mance on untrained tests, in healthy old­er peo­ple and in peo­ple with schiz­o­phre­nia. Func­tion­al gains in schiz­o­phre­nia appear lim­it­ed to CR stud­ies. Clear­ly defin­ing CCT, CR, and lev­els of treat­ment relat­ed gains will be crit­i­cal for under­stand­ing the ben­e­fits of these wide­ly used treat­ment pro­grams.

The Study in Context:

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