Posts Tagged Attention
[Abstract] From cortical blindness to conscious visual perception: Theories on neuronal networks and visual training strategies
Homonymous hemianopia (HH) is the most common cortical visual impairment leading to blindness in the contralateral hemifield. It is associated with many inconveniences and daily restrictions such as exploration and visual orientation difficulties. However, patients with HH can preserve the remarkable ability to unconsciously perceive visual stimuli presented in their blindfield, a phenomenon known as blindsight. Unfortunately, the nature of this captivating residual ability is still misunderstood and the rehabilitation strategies have been insufficiently exploited. This paper discusses type I and type II blindsight in a neuronal framework of altered global workspace, resulting from inefficient perception, attention and conscious networks. To enhance synchronisation and create global availability for residual abilities to reach visual consciousness, rehabilitation tools need to stimulate subcortical extrastriate pathways through V5/MT. Multisensory bottom-up compensation combined with top-down restitution training could target pre-existing and new neuronal mechanisms to recreate a framework for potential functionality.
[ARTICLE] Effects of neurofeedback on the short-term memory and continuous attention of patients with moderate traumatic brain injury: A preliminary randomized controlled clinical trial – Full Text
There are some studies which showed neurofeedback therapy (NFT) can be effective in clients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) history. However, randomized controlled clinical trials are still needed for evaluation of this treatment as a standard option. This preliminary study was aimed to evaluate the effect of NFT on continuous attention (CA) and short-term memory (STM) of clients with moderate TBI using a randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT).
In this preliminary RCT, seventeen eligible patients with moderate TBI were randomly allocated in two intervention and control groups. All the patients were evaluated for CA and STM using the visual continuous attention test and Wechsler memory scale-4th edition (WMS-IV) test, respectively, both at the time of inclusion to the project and four weeks later. The intervention group participated in 20 sessions of NFT through the first four weeks. Conversely, the control group participated in the same NF sessions from the fifth week to eighth week of the project.
Eight subjects in the intervention group and five subjects in the control group completed the study. The mean and standard deviation of participants’ age were (26.75±15.16) years and (27.60±8.17) years in experiment and control groups, respectively. All of the subjects were male. No significant improvement was observed in any variables of the visual continuous attention test and WMS-IV test between two groups (p≥0.05).
Based on our literature review, it seems that our study is the only study performed on the effect of NFT on TBI patients with control group. NFT has no effect on CA and STM in patients with moderate TBI. More RCTs with large sample sizes, more sessions of treatment, longer time of follow-up and different protocols are recommended.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) means an injury to the brain that is caused by an external physical force. It is well known that TBI is an important cause of mortality and morbidity and it is reported that each year about 1.7 million people sustain a TBI in USA. Some of them die (about 50,000) and some other experience long-term disability (80,000 to 90,000).1; 2 ; 3 The severity of TBI can be categorized based on the Glasgow comma scale (GCS) at the time of injury as follows: mild (13-15), moderate (9-12) and severe (<9).4 TBI usually affect the brain function such as cognitive status, executive function, memory, data processing, language skills and attention.5 It has heterogeneous aspects and based on the injury location and type. It can have different presentations. Hence it is considered as a difficult one to treat.6
The brain plasticity could help it in rehabilitation phase to restore its normal function after any trauma or disease. But the amount of this ability is poorly understood. Some studies approved that neurofeedback therapy (NFT) can promote neuroplasticity.7 In the method of neurofeedback (NF), as a non-pharmacological intervention, the feedback to brain waves which are representative of subconscious neural activity can be observed by the client and then he/she will be able to control and change them.8 ; 9 There are some evidences that show NFT can be useful in some other diseases like Obsessive-compulsive disorder,10 attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder11 and also refractory epilepsy.12 There are also some published studies about the effect of NFT on patients with TBI. Surmeli in 2007 investigated the effect of NFT on 24 patients with mild TBI and reported that NFT can result in significant improvement in test of variables of attention, beck depression inventory and minnesota multiphasic personality inventory.13 In a study in 2014, with evaluation of two patients with moderate head injury and without control group, it is reported that electroencephalogram biofeedback can lead to increase the cognitive scores and improve the concussion symptoms and finally concluded that NFT can be effective on the changes in the structural and functional connectivity among patients with moderate TBI.14
Although these published papers reported a positive effect of NFT on the TBI patients, we have not enough data about the standard treatment protocol with NF, and literature still needs more original studies like randomized controlled clinical trial to suggest NF as a treatment option among patients with TBI regarding the two following functions of cognitive status: short-term memory (STM) and continuous attention (CA).6
In this preliminary study, we tried to evaluate the effect of NFT on CA and STM of patients with moderate TBI using a randomized controlled clinical trial. […]
[ARTICLE] Efficacy of home-based visuomotor feedback training in stroke patients with chronic hemispatial neglect – Full Text
Hemispatial neglect is a severe cognitive condition frequently observed after a stroke, associated with unawareness of one side of space, disability and poor long-term outcome. Visuomotor feedback training (VFT) is a neglect rehabilitation technique that involves a simple, inexpensive and feasible training of grasping-to-lift rods at the centre. We compared the immediate and long-term effects of VFT vs. a control training when delivered in a home-based setting. Twenty participants were randomly allocated to an intervention (who received VFT) or a control group (n = 10 each). Training was delivered for two sessions by an experimenter and then patients self-administered it for 10 sessions over two weeks. Outcome measures included the Behavioural Inattention Test (BIT), line bisection, Balloons Test, Landmark task, room description task, subjective straight-ahead pointing task and the Stroke Impact Scale. The measures were obtained before, immediately after the training sessions and after four-months post-training. Significantly greater short and long-term improvements were obtained after VFT when compared to control training in line bisection, BIT and spatial bias in cancellation. VFT also produced improvements on activities of daily living. We conclude that VFT is a feasible, effective, home-based rehabilitation method for neglect patients that warrants further investigation with well-designed randomised controlled trials on a large sample of patients.
[WEB SITE] New combinatination therapy shows promise in treating patients with traumatic brain injury
A combination of the stimulant drug methylphenidate with a process known as cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation is a promising option to help people who suffer from persistent cognitive problems following traumatic brain injury, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have reported.
The study, believed to be the first to systematically compare the combination therapy to alternative treatments, was published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, a Nature publication.
The researchers, led by Brenna McDonald, PsyD, associate professor of radiology and imaging sciences, and Thomas McAllister, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, compared the effectiveness of two forms of cognitive therapy with and without the use of methylphenidate, a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and better known by its trade name, Ritalin.
“We found that the combination of methylphenidate and Memory and Attention Adaptation Training resulted in significantly better results in attention, episodic and working memory, and executive functioning after traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. McDonald.
In the Memory and Attention Adaptation Training intervention – also used to assist patients with cognitive issues following breast cancer chemotherapy – therapists work with patients to help them develop behaviors and strategies to improve performance in memory and other cognitive tasks. In this study, this “metacognitive” approach was compared with Attention Builders Training, which Dr. McDonald likened to more of a “drill and practice” approach.
The 71 participants who completed the six-week trial were adults who had experienced a traumatic brain injury of at least mild severity – a blow to the head with some alteration of consciousness – at least four months previously, and who either complained of having cognitive problems, or who had been identified with cognitive problems in testing.
The participants were divided into four groups: the two cognitive therapy approaches with the drug therapy, and the two approaches with placebo. After six weeks, the researchers found that participants in the combination metacognitive-Ritalin group improved significantly better in word list learning, nonverbal learning and measures of attention-related and executive function.
However, Dr. McDonald cautioned that due to the relatively small number of participants in the each of the four arms of the trial – 17 to 19 people each – the results of the trial should be considered preliminary.
Nonetheless, she said, the work breaks new ground in providing evidence for the combination therapy.
“There have been a few small studies suggesting methylphenidate could help with attention and executive function after traumatic brain injury, which makes senses because it’s used to improve attention and focus. But this is the first to test it in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy for treatment in traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. McDonald.
[WEB SITE] Computerized cognitive rehabilitation of attention and executive function in acquired brain injury – Systematic review – CNS
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.
(Boston) — For the first time, researchers have shown that computerized cognitive rehabilitation (a program to help brain-injured or otherwise cognitively impaired individuals to restore normal functioning) can improve attention and executive functioning in brain injury survivors including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke.
The findings, which appear online in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, may lead to improved treatment outcomes in patients with brain injury, especially for patients with limited mobility and means and those residing in rural areas.
Persistent cognitive problems are very common following brain injury, especially in executive functioning, attention and learning.
The research team conducted a systematic literature review of computerized treatment for attention and executive function in adults who suffered a brain injury. Studies published before or during April 2015 were evaluated for quality and methodology as no previous reviews had been completed. They found eight of 11 studies reported significant gains in cognitive function following treatment in TBI patients, with the three remaining studies reporting trends toward significance. Similarly, 10 of 12 mixed population studies observed significant improvements on measures of attention and executive function, with the remaining two studies reporting positive trends. Five studies reported significant improvements subsequent to treatment for stroke patients.
“The results of this systematic review provide encouraging evidence that computerized cognitive rehabilitation can improve attention and executive functioning in brain injury survivors,” explained corresponding author Yelena Bogdanova, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and principal investigator at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
According to the researchers computerized treatment delivery can significantly reduce the wait time and cost of treatment, provide immediate access to treatment in any location, improve the quality of life of patients and reduce the burden of caregivers.
Bogdanova believes further studies are needed. “It is important to evaluate the efficacy of computerized cognitive training programs and to provide specific guidelines for computerized methods of rehabilitation in patients with brain injury, as it can reduce cost and increase accessibility of treatment to traditionally underserved populations,” she added.
Funding for this study was provided by the Rehabilitation Research & Development Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grants D6996W and I21RX001773-01 to YB, the National Institutes of Health and Boston University Clinical & Translational Science Institute grant UL1-RR025771 to YB, the VA Translation Research Center for TBI & Stress Disorders [YB], and the VA BHS Psychology Research Service [YB].
[BROSHURE] Traumatic Brain Injury—What College Disability Specialists and Educators Should Know about Executive Functions
The four-page guide defines executive functions and how they are affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI), and describes the unique challenges that students with TBI face in the college environment. The guide also offers specific academic strategies that may be helpful for deficits in executive function. The guide was developed in collaboration with Chapman University.
Research Reports – Mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury
NeuroRehabilitation. 2015 Apr 16
Johansson B(1), Rönnbäck L(1)
BACKGROUND: Mental fatigue is one of the most significant post-traumatic brain
injury symptoms. It is currently not possible to objectively identify.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated whether a complex computer cognitive test with
load on endurance, processing speed and attention were more demanding for
participants suffering from mental fatigue after brain injury compared with a
METHOD: Seventy-six subjects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and 45 healthy
controls were included in the study. All subjects with mTBI had been suffering
from mental fatigue for six months or more. Mental fatigue was screened using the
Mental Fatigue Scale (MFS). Cognitive function was measured for information
processing speed and working memory, and with a novel computer test.
RESULTS: The mTBI group rated MFS significantly higher than the control group.
The results revealed a significantly slower information processing speed for the
mTBI subjects and a poorer performance on the working memory test. The computer
test revealed a less efficient performance over time for the TBI subjects
compared to the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate a less efficient performance over time in
complex and demanding cognitive tasks for individuals experiencing from mental
fatigue after brain injury.
Cognitive impairment, including deficits in memory, attention, visual perception, executive functioning, and self-awareness, is a common consequence of acquired brain injury (ABI). Subsequently, these cognitive impairments result in functional impairments in daily life activities for clients with ABI.
Rehabilitation efforts are categorized under two broad approaches: remediation and adaptation. Computer-assisted cognitive retraining (CACR) is a remediation approach using a computer platform to deliver cognitive exercises. CACR therapy can lead to improvements in memory and attention for adults with chronic ABI. However, memory and attention improvements from CACR may not carry over to functional improvements in occupational performance. Research suggested that therapy using an adaptive approach can yield functional improvements.
The purpose of this project was to design a systematic cognitive retraining curriculum, Bridge/Adapt, to bridge the gap between memory and attention-skill gains from CACR to functional improvements in occupational performance using adaptive strategies. The Bridge/Adapt curriculum incorporates the cognitive orientation of occupational performance (CO-OP) intervention approach, multicontext approach, and goal oriented attentional self-regulation training.
The curriculum includes eight modules that provide grading options so that occupational therapists can choose which difficulty level best suits the client. Clients practice adaptive strategies during simulations of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), including financial management, appointment scheduling, and grocery shopping, utilizing the three themes in Bridge/Adapt: salience, context, and hierarchy. Clients use salience to choose meaningful goals to work on at home. Context refers to clients working on goals in varying environments. Lastly, clients work on tasks that increase in complexity with the hierarchical theme.