Posts Tagged Cognitive Rehabilitation

[Abstract+References] Non-invasive Cerebellar Stimulation: a Promising Approach for Stroke Recovery?

Abstract

Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) combined with behavioral training is a promising strategy to augment recovery after stroke. Current research efforts have been mainly focusing on primary motor cortex (M1) stimulation. However, the translation from proof-of-principle to clinical applications is not yet satisfactory. Possible reasons are the heterogeneous properties of stroke, generalization of the stimulation protocols, and hence the lack of patient stratification. One strategy to overcome these limitations could be the evaluation of alternative stimulation targets, like the cerebellum. In this regard, first studies provided evidence that non-invasive cerebellar stimulation can modulate cerebellar processing and linked behavior in healthy subjects. The cerebellum provides unique plasticity mechanisms and has vast connections to interact with neocortical areas. Moreover, the cerebellum could serve as a non-lesioned entry to the motor or cognitive system in supratentorial stroke. In the current article, we review mechanisms of plasticity in the cortico-cerebellar system after stroke, methods for non-invasive cerebellar stimulation, and possible target symptoms in stroke, like fine motor deficits, gait disturbance, or cognitive impairments, and discuss strategies for multi-focal stimulation.

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via Non-invasive Cerebellar Stimulation: a Promising Approach for Stroke Recovery? | SpringerLink

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[Abstract] Improving Cognitive Function in Patients with Stroke: Can Computerized Training Be the Future?

Background

Cognitive impairment after stroke is common and can cause disability with a high impact on quality of life and independence. Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after central nervous system’s injuries. Computerized cognitive rehabilitation (CCR) uses multimedia and informatics resources to optimize cognitive compromised performances. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of pc cognitive training with Erica software in patients with stroke.

Methods

We studied 35 subjects (randomly divided into 2 groups), affected by either ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, having attended from January 2013 to May 2015 the Laboratory of Robotic and Cognitive Rehabilitation of Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Neurolesi in Messina. Cognitive dysfunctions were investigated through a complete neuropsychological battery, administered before (T0) and after (T1) each different training.

Results

At T0, all the patients showed language and cognitive deficits, especially in attention process and memory abilities, with mood alterations. After the rehabilitation program (T1), we noted a global cognitive improvement in both groups, but a more significant increase in the scores of the different clinical scales we administered was found after CCR.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that cognitive pc training by using the Erica software may be a useful methodology to increase the post-stroke cognitive recovery.

 

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[WEB SITE] Hospital wins patent in VR treatment for cognitive disorders.

A local hospital is drawing attention by winning a patent in cognitive rehabilitation treatment using a 3D virtual reality (VR) technology.

The Gil Medical Center and Gachon University’s industry-university cooperation foundation said on Monday they registered the patent in “a method and system using 3D virtual reality for the treatment of cognitive impairment.” Professor Lee Ju-kang of Gachon University Gil Medical Center’s physical medicine and rehabilitation department had developed the system.

The invention allows doctors to treat a wide range of cognitive disorders, including dementia, with all the different kinds of virtual space. Physicians expect better treatment results with the new technology, which offers virtual areas such as homes that are more familiar to patients than hospital’s treatment rooms.

To build 3D background information, the user of the program should visit the patient’s home and scan it first. Then, the user can save it as a database.

“Existing dementia treatments are quite limited, as most of them focus on prevention of further progress rather than on cure. Thus, it is becoming more important to use rehabilitation treatment to prevent dementia-derived adjustment disorders or accidents in daily life,” the medical center stated in the patent explanation.

“Existing treatments include cognitive rehabilitation offered in a limited environment such as hospital’s treatment room and cognitive training through a few computer programs, which are far from real life,” it went on to say. “By generating 3D virtual reality, we have developed a system to give patients easier access to necessary environment and targets and treat their cognitive impairment.”

Earlier, the hospital unveiled a plan to open a “VR Life Center” next January to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.

“If we combine VR technology with medical treatment software, we can reenact an environment, which is difficult to visit in reality and expect better treatment results,” the hospital said. “VR treatments have already been used as a psychological treatment for a phobia and an addiction and have proven effective.”

via Hospital wins patent in VR treatment for cognitive disorders – Korea Biomedical Review

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[Abstract] Improving Cognitive Function in Patients with Stroke: Can Computerized Training Be the Future?

Background

Cognitive impairment after stroke is common and can cause disability with a high impact on quality of life and independence. Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after central nervous system’s injuries. Computerized cognitive rehabilitation (CCR) uses multimedia and informatics resources to optimize cognitive compromised performances. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of pc cognitive training with Erica software in patients with stroke.

Methods

We studied 35 subjects (randomly divided into 2 groups), affected by either ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, having attended from January 2013 to May 2015 the Laboratory of Robotic and Cognitive Rehabilitation of Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Neurolesi in Messina. Cognitive dysfunctions were investigated through a complete neuropsychological battery, administered before (T0) and after (T1) each different training.

Results

At T0, all the patients showed language and cognitive deficits, especially in attention process and memory abilities, with mood alterations. After the rehabilitation program (T1), we noted a global cognitive improvement in both groups, but a more significant increase in the scores of the different clinical scales we administered was found after CCR.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that cognitive pc training by using the Erica software may be a useful methodology to increase the post-stroke cognitive recovery.

 

via Improving Cognitive Function in Patients with Stroke: Can Computerized Training Be the Future?

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[Abstract+References] A Serious Games Platform for Cognitive Rehabilitation with Preliminary Evaluation

Abstract

In recent years Serious Games have evolved substantially, solving problems in diverse areas. In particular, in Cognitive Rehabilitation, Serious Games assume a relevant role. Traditional cognitive therapies are often considered repetitive and discouraging for patients and Serious Games can be used to create more dynamic rehabilitation processes, holding patients’ attention throughout the process and motivating them during their road to recovery. This paper reviews Serious Games and user interfaces in rehabilitation area and details a Serious Games platform for Cognitive Rehabilitation that includes a set of features such as: natural and multimodal user interfaces and social features (competition, collaboration, and handicapping) which can contribute to augment the motivation of patients during the rehabilitation process. The web platform was tested with healthy subjects. Results of this preliminary evaluation show the motivation and the interest of the participants by playing the games.

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[BLOG POST] Thinking & Memory After Stroke – Saebo

Whether you’re awake or asleep, your brain is continuously active. Vast amounts of information—thoughts, moments, feelings, etc.—are sent to your brain, where they are filtered and stored, and it’s important for your brain to be working properly in order to place them in the right spots.

After surviving a stroke, there is a possibility that some of the brain’s vital functions could be damaged, which makes its processes more difficult to carry out, potentially causing harmful issues for the patient. In many stroke cases, issues with thinking and memory are likely to occur, but there are ways to rebuild brain power and regain a healthy lifestyle over time.

Common Problems After a Stroke

Due to physical trauma to the brain, it’s common to experience a variety of issues. Daily actions, like executing a simple task or reacting to external situations, can become difficult to navigate. These kinds of challenges may include watching a television show, reading a book, following through with a task from start to finish, remembering what others have just told you, troubles with directions, executing simple instructions, and even cooking for yourself. If these don’t sound cumbersome enough, along with a slew of physical hurdles lies a deeper obstacle of impaired cognition.
Continue reading our previous post Most Common Questions Answered for more common stroke recovery questions & answers.

Cognitive Problems After a Stroke

Impairments dealing with cognition refer to mental actions and operations that the brain cannot fully sort out. Basically, there is a lack of communication when it comes to gaining information and understanding through vital pathways—thoughts, experiences, and the senses. Because of this, a stroke survivor can possibly mimic symptoms of someone who has dementia or memory loss.

Depending on which side of the brain is most affected by a stroke, different symptoms can occur. For example, someone with a right-brain stroke can exhibit complications with problem solving. In addition, they may confuse information or muddle up the order of details of an event. For those who are left-brain impacted, there may be a significant change to their short-term memory. In this case, a survivor may have a hard time learning new things and will most likely have to be reminded of something many times. That being said, there are ways to help improve cognitive abilities with patience and repetition, and it all starts with rebuilding memory.

Memory Loss After a Stroke

Not only is it common for stroke survivors, but memory loss can be an issue for anyone. Factors like old age and physical accidents can contribute to its deterioration, so understanding its processes can provide a better scope of what to expect.

Types of memory loss may include:

  • Difficulty speaking and understanding language
  • Visual confusion with faces, objects, and directions
  • Trouble with new information and tasks
  • Inability to think clearly

Although these issues may seem challenging, keep in mind that one’s memory has the capability to heal itself over time with the help of mental exercises. Daily routines of mental stimulation may aid in rebuilding awareness and focus, and the best part is that these activities can be enjoyable. There are ways to incorporate a variety of exercises into your life that can make a big difference towards a healthy recovery. Remember, memory symptoms have the potential to last for years, so it’s unlikely that progress will be made overnight, but consistency can set the pace for improvement.

Something else to keep in mind is that techniques for improving after memory loss are considered experimental. In most stroke cases, treatments are designed to help prevent further damage, so if you or a loved one feel like treatments aren’t working, consult with your doctor about taking medications that may assist in rehabilitation.

Ways to Stimulate the Brain

The good news is that there are many options to increase your brain power, and they are all useful in more ways than one! For instance, taking up a new hobby that involves both the mind and body is a great way to work your brain muscles. In addition, performing various physical movements shows a huge correlation with growth in mental and physical strength. Along with these methods, great improvements of mental health can be made by following a routine. Simple tasks like writing things down, designating certain spots for items, and overall repetition provide stability and reassurance.

Apps

Rather than focusing all your attention on classic methods of brain stimulation, try technology; it can be an immediate and fun way to see results. On a smartphone or tablet you’ll find countless apps available that can help improve memory and speech, set reminders for medications and appointments, and help manage other illnesses or issues that you may have. With today’s growing technology, apps are both widely accessible and easy to use, giving you freedom to develop your own regiment of “app rehab.”

Here are some of our favorite apps to try out:

What’s the Difference?

In this game, two pictures will appear on the screen, and it’s your job to use your finger and circle any differences you spot on the image below compared to the image above. As you move from one level to the next, the differences will be harder to find! This game will improve your awareness and perception skills with every round.

Thinking Time Pro

Designed by Harvard and UC Berkeley neuroscientists, this app uses four different scientific games to enhance your memory, attention, reasoning, and overall cognitive skills. The best part about this app is that you can set the difficulty level to move at your own pace.

Fit Brains Trainer

Ranked as one of the best educational apps in the world, Fit Brains Trainer stimulates your cognitive and emotional intelligence through a variety of brain games, workout sessions, and personalized status reports based on your performance.

Eidetic

For the ultimate boost in memorization, Eidetic utilizes a technique known as “spaced repetition” to aid you in memorizing loads of information. Whether you want to remember someone’s phone number or a recipe you just found online, this app will do the trick.

Support Leads to Progress

If you or a loved one is suffering from issues pertaining to thinking and memory, know that there are treatments out there to make improvements. With patience and understanding, a stroke survivor can eventually reach a level of fulfillment in life, but it’s difficult to get there alone. More than anything, a survivor will need encouragement in order to believe that progress can be made. With the support of friends and family, and help from various exercises and technologies, development is certainly possible

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[WEB SITE] Transcranial electrical stimulation shows promise for treating mild traumatic brain injury

 

Credit: copyright American Heart Association

Using a form of low-impulse electrical stimulation to the brain, documented by neuroimaging, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) and collaborators elsewhere, report significantly improved neural function in participants with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Their findings are published online in the current issue of the journal Brain Injury.

TBI is a leading cause of sustained physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems in both the civilian population (primarily due to , sports, falls and assaults) and among military personnel (blast injuries). In the majority of cases,  is deemed mild (75 percent of civilians, 89 percent of military), and typically resolves in days.

But in a significant percentage of cases, mild TBI and related post-concussive symptoms persist for months, even years, resulting in chronic, long-term cognitive and/or behavioral impairment.

Much about the pathology of mild TBI is not well understood, which the authors say has confounded efforts to develop optimal treatments. However, they note the use of passive neuro-feedback, which involves applying low-intensity pulses to the brain through transcranial  (LIP-tES), has shown promise.

In their pilot study, which involved six participants who had suffered mild TBI and experienced persistent post-concussion symptoms, the researchers used a version of LIP-tES called IASIS, combined with concurrent electroencephalography monitoring (EEG). The  effects of IASIS were assessed using magnetoencephalography (MEG) before and after treatment. MEG is a form of non-invasive functional imaging that directly measures brain neuronal electromagnetic activity, with high temporal resolution (1 ms) and high spatial accuracy (~3 mm at the cortex).

“Our previous publications have shown that MEG detection of abnormal brain slow-waves is one of the most sensitive biomarkers for mild  (concussions), with about 85 percent sensitivity in detecting concussions and, essentially, no false-positives in normal patients,” said senior author Roland Lee, MD, professor of radiology and director of Neuroradiology, MRI and MEG at UC San Diego School of Medicine and VASDHS. “This makes it an ideal technique to monitor the effects of concussion treatments such as LIP-tES.”

The researchers found that the brains of all six participants displayed abnormal slow-waves in initial, baseline MEG scans. Following treatment using IASIS, MEG scans indicated measurably reduced abnormal slow-waves. The participants also reported a significant reduction in post-concussion scores.

“For the first time, we’ve been able to document with neuroimaging the effects of LIP-tES treatment on brain functioning in mild TBI,” said first author Ming-Xiong Huang, PhD, professor in the Department of Radiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a research scientist at VASDHS. “It’s a small study, which certainly must be expanded, but it suggests new potential for effectively speeding the healing process in mild traumatic injuries.”

Source: Transcranial electrical stimulation shows promise for treating mild traumatic brain injury

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[Abstract] Exploiting Awareness for the Development of Collaborative Rehabilitation Systems

Abstract

Physical and cognitive rehabilitation is usually a challenging activity as people with any kind of deficit has to carry out tasks difficult due to their abilities damaged. Moreover, such difficulties become even harder while they have to work at home in an isolated manner. Therefore, the development of collaborative rehabilitation systems emerges as one of the best alternatives to mitigate such isolation and turn a difficult task into a challenging and stimulating one. As any other collaborative system, the need of being aware of other participants (their actions, locations, status, etc.) is paramount to achieve a proper collaborative experience. This awareness should be provided by using those feedback stimuli more appropriate according to the physical and cognitive abilities of the patients. This has led us to define an awareness interpretation for collaborative cognitive and physical systems. This has been defined by extending an existing proposal that has been already applied to the collaborative games field. Furthermore, in order to put this interpretation into practice, a case study based on an association image-writing rehabilitation pattern is presented illustrating how this cognitive rehabilitation task has been extended with collaborative features and enriched
with awareness information

Source: http://scholar.google.gr/scholar_url?url=http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/misy/aip/4714328.pdf&hl=en&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm3JVyov5uyNG4mj9U_e1I0YTQ_vvA&nossl=1&oi=scholaralrt

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[Abstract+References] Neuroplastic Changes Induced by Cognitive Rehabilitation in Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review 

Background. Cognitive deficits are among the most disabling consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to long-term outcomes and interfering with the individual’s recovery. One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of cognitive disturbance in everyday life is cognitive rehabilitation, which is based on the principles of brain neuroplasticity and restoration. Although there are many studies in the literature focusing on the effectiveness of cognitive interventions in reducing cognitive deficits following TBI, only a few of them focus on neural modifications induced by cognitive treatment. The use of neuroimaging or neurophysiological measures to evaluate brain changes induced by cognitive rehabilitation may have relevant clinical implications, since they could add individualized elements to cognitive assessment. Nevertheless, there are no review studies in the literature investigating neuroplastic changes induced by cognitive training in TBI individuals.

Objective. Due to lack of data, the goal of this article is to review what is currently known on the cerebral modifications following rehabilitation programs in chronic TBI.

Methods. Studies investigating both the functional and structural neural modifications induced by cognitive training in TBI subjects were identified from the results of database searches. Forty-five published articles were initially selected. Of these, 34 were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria.

Results. Eleven studies were found that focused solely on the functional and neurophysiological changes induced by cognitive rehabilitation.

Conclusions. Outcomes showed that cerebral activation may be significantly modified by cognitive rehabilitation, in spite of the severity of the injury.

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Source: Neuroplastic Changes Induced by Cognitive Rehabilitation in Traumatic Brain Injury: A ReviewNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair – Valentina Galetto, Katiuscia Sacco, 2017

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[ARTICLE] Neurofeedback as a form of cognitive rehabilitation therapy following stroke: A systematic review – Full Text

Neurofeedback therapy (NFT) has been used within a number of populations however it has not been applied or thoroughly examined as a form of cognitive rehabilitation within a stroke population.

Objectives for this systematic review included:

  • i) identifying how NFT is utilized to treat cognitive deficits following stroke,
  • ii) examining the strength and quality of evidence to support the use of NFT as a form of cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) and
  • iii) providing recommendations for future investigations.

Searches were conducted using OVID (Medline, Health Star, Embase + Embase Classic) and PubMed databases. Additional searches were completed using the Cochrane Reviews library database, Google Scholar, the University of Toronto online library catalogue, ClinicalTrials.gov website and select journals. Searches were completed Feb/March 2015 and updated in June/July/Aug 2015. Eight studies were eligible for inclusion in this review.

Studies were eligible for inclusion if they:

  • i) were specific to a stroke population,
  • ii) delivered CRT via a NFT protocol,
  • iii) included participants who were affected by a cognitive deficit(s) following stroke (i.e. memory loss, loss of executive function, speech impairment etc.).

NFT protocols were highly specific and varied within each study. The majority of studies identified improvements in participant cognitive deficits following the initiation of therapy. Reviewers assessed study quality using the Downs and Black Checklist for Measuring Study Quality tool; limited study quality and strength of evidence restricted generalizability of conclusions regarding the use of this therapy to the greater stroke population.

Progression in this field requires further inquiry to strengthen methodology quality and study design. Future investigations should aim to standardize NFT protocols in an effort to understand the dose-response relationship between NFT and improvements in functional outcome. Future investigations should also place a large emphasis on long-term participant follow-up.

Introduction

In 2011, stroke was identified as the third leading cause of death among Canadians (5.5%, 13 283 deaths), and considered to be the leading cause of neurological disability in Canadian adults [12]. Although stroke occurrence is most common in individuals aged 70 and older, stroke incidence for individuals over the age of 50 has increased by 24% and 13% in individuals over the age of 60, in the last decade [3]. Following a stroke, patients typically enter rehabilitation programs (i.e. physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) to address a multitude of physical, emotional and cognitive deficits [45]. Many rehabilitation interventions initiated following stroke primarily target functional motor impairments. In reviewing the literature, few investigations have been published that aim to target cognitive deficits, despite 40% of stroke survivors experiencing a decline in cognitive function (especially memory) following stroke [6].

The brain is a highly complex and organized organ therefore the extent of impairment and deficits that follow stroke are largely dependent on lesion severity and location [7]. Physiologically these impairments are a result of the loss of neuronal circuits and connections linked to the relevant sensory, motor, and cognitive functions [89]. Furthermore, it is thought that the neurological recovery that occurs following a stroke is a direct result of brain plasticity and it’s ability to repair and reorganize [10]. Some evidence exists for the initiation of reparative functions in the brain in as little as a few hours following a stroke [1112]. In respect to recovery trajectories following stroke, ninety-five percent of stroke patients reach their peak language recovery within 6 weeks of a stroke, and within 3 months for hemispatial neglect [1314]. Deficits that do not spontaneously resolve contribute to the large number of individuals requiring long term care following stroke (i.e. rehabilitative therapy) [1516]. Occupational and physical rehabilitation programs target functional and mobility issues however, in addition to these impairments patients experience a wide range of cognitive and neurological deficits. Individuals with impairments of this nature often require cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT).

CRT encompasses any intervention targeting the restoration, remediation and adaptation of cognitive functions including: attention, concentration, memory, comprehension, communication, reasoning, problem solving, planning, initiation, judgement, self-monitoring and awareness [17]. CRT can be offered in a variety of settings such as rehabilitation hospitals, community care facilities, private residences as well as the workplace [18]. Although cognitive therapy has been around since the early 19th century, the 1970’s marked the most recent biofeedback movement in CRT [18]. Traditionally used to treat muscular impairments (via electromyography (EMG) feedback) biofeedback has taken on a new form known as neurofeedback therapy (NFT). NFT targets the brain and cognitive functions through the use of electroencephalography (EEG), hence neurofeedback is sometimes referred to as EEG biofeedback [19]. In classical NFT, EEG and brainwave activity is provided as a visual or auditory cue to the user [6]. Using these cues the user can consciously adapt their brainwave activity to reach targeted training thresholds. NFT relies on operant conditioning to stimulate the neuroplastic abilities of the brain [2021]. Physiologically stimulating specific band frequencies over damaged areas stimulates cortical metabolism [19]. NFT is also used to counter excessive slow wave activity (i.e. theta waves and sometimes alpha waves) that typically follow stroke [21]. An alternative form of NFT known as nonlinear dynamical neurofeedback has also been used to restore homeostasis to the brain. This form of NFT requires no conscious effort from the participant to adapt their brainwaves in any particular direction (i.e. the participant maintains a passive role). Modalities like NeurOptimal® utilize Functional Targeting to provide the brain with “… information about itself which allows the brain to assemble it’s own, best organizing strategies moment by moment” [22]. In the context of this review, the studies included herein concern the use of classical NFT only.

To date, NFT has been used extensively to treat cognitive deficits associated with other neurological disorders and illnesses including: mild traumatic brain injury [23], ADD/ADHD [24], Epilepsy [25], Autism Spectrum Disorders [2627], Dyslexia [28], Fibromyalgia [29], Depression [30], and opiate additions [31]. Despite promising NFT outcomes within these populations, NFT has not been thoroughly evaluated for use in a stroke population. The aim of this systematic review was to thoroughly evaluate the available evidence pertinent to understanding the effectiveness of NFT as a form of CRT following stroke. To achieve this objective a number of research questions were established to guide this review:

  1. Among a stroke population, how is NFT utilized to treat cognitive deficits?
  2. Among identified NFT interventions targeting a stroke population, what is the quality and strength of evidence to support the use of NFT as a form of CRT following stroke?
  3. Based on the available NFT evidence for use in stroke populations, what recommendations can be made for future research?

 

The primary outcome of interest in this review was to identify if cognitive symptom complaints could be ameliorated following the initiation of NFT in a sub-acute and chronic post-stroke population. Secondary outcomes aimed to assess study quality, methodology and strength of support for use of NFT in this population.

Continue —> Neurofeedback as a form of cognitive rehabilitation therapy following stroke: A systematic review

Fig 1. PRISMA flow diagram.

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