Weill Cornell Medicine Neuropsychology Team Presents Benefits of Computerized Working Memory Training

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Taylor A. Liberta, a research assistant in neuropsychology at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center
02-14-2019

Two research assistants in neuropsychology from the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center presented the results of an investigation into Cogmed Working Memory Training at professional meetings. Taylor A. Liberta presented  at the 2019 Rehabilitation Psychology Conference in Orlando, Florida, then she and Michiru Kagiwada presented at the International Neuropsychological Society 47th Annual Meeting in New York.

The research, led by faculty members Amanda Sacks-Zimmerman, PhD, ABPP-CN, Kenneth Perrine, PhD, ABPP-CN, and Jessica Spat-Lemus, PhD, is among the first to test the use of a computerized training program in patients with reported cognitive changes following neurosurgical intervention.

Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based, computerized cognitive rehabilitation program that targets working memory. In the research study, 29 participants who had been treated for a brain tumor, epilepsy, aneurysm, or other neurosurgical condition were evaluated before and after a five- or six-week treatment program; 18 of them were evaluated again three months later. Results showed beneficial effects on attention, working memory, processing speed, verbal learning of a word list, and short and long delay free recall. In addition, the program appeared to improve certain aspects of behavioral outcomes.

These findings suggest that implementing this online working memory training for patients after neurosurgery may improve aspects of cognitive abilities and functional outcomes, and that this training should be considered as part of the post-neurosurgical standard of care and management. The study also showed that pre-existing anxiety lessened the effectiveness of working memory intervention, demonstrating the importance of assessing anxiety prior to neuropsychological treatment, as it may adversely impact its efficacy.

Liberta is a PhD candidate at Adelphi University; Kagiwada is a master's degree student in psychology at New York University.

 

More about the Neuropsychology Service of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center