Improving Everyday Memory Performance After Acquired Brain Injury: An RCT on Recollection and Working Memory Training

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Abstract

Objective: To show the effectiveness of a combined recognition and working memory training on everyday memory performance in patients suffering from organic memory disorders. Method: In this double-blind, randomized controlled Study 36 patients with organic memory impairments, mainly attributable to stroke, were assigned to either the experimental or the active control group. In the experimental group a working memory training was combined with a recollection training based on the repetition-lag procedure. Patients in the active control group received the memory therapy usually provided in the rehabilitation center. Both groups received nine hours of therapy. Prior (T0) and subsequent (T1) to the therapy, patients were evaluated on an everyday memory test (EMT) as well as on a neuropsychological test battery. Based on factor analysis of the neuropsychological test scores at T0 we calculated composite scores for working memory, verbal learning and word fluency. Results: After treatment, the intervention group showed a significantly greater improvement for WM performance compared with the active control group. More importantly, performance on the EMT also improved significantly in patients receiving the recollection and working memory training compared with patients with standard memory training. Conclusion: Our results show that combining working memory and recollection training significantly improves performance on everyday memory tasks, demonstrating far transfer effects. The present study argues in favor of a process-based approach for treating memory impairments.

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