Computer-based ‘brain-training’ program could aid veterans who suffer traumatic injuries

soldier tablet laptop
Image: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks

It has been 27 years since an attack on a U.S. military convoy in the Middle East left Army reservist Melissa Dengan, now 63, with such serious head trauma that she was unconscious for five days. “I woke up back in the United States, and didn’t know how I got there,” she said. “I was pretty muddled for a while.”

Now, however, a Pentagon-funded study has found that a specific form of computer-based brain training can improve cognitive performance in vets such as Deegan who suffered persistent mental deficits after a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers reported on [May 16] at a conference in Washington. If the results hold up, the training, a commercial product called BrainHQ, will be the first intervention shown to do so.

Dengan, for one, said that even before she finished the standard 12 weeks of training she was “able to retain more information from what I read, and my long- and short-term memory problems don’t seem as severe.”

After 12 weeks, the games group had improved on a standard 100-point assessment of cognitive function by an average of 2.3 points. The BrainHQ group improved by 9 points, on average. After another 12 weeks, when the participants were not using either intervention, the games-group’s improvement had fallen to 1.9 points, but the BrainHQ group maintained its gains.

Read full, original post: Brain training shows promise as a treatment for veterans’ cognitive problems after TBI

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