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Working Memory Training in Post-Secondary Students with ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Study.

Mawjee K, Woltering S, Tannock R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Performance on 5/7 criterion measures indicated that shortened-length CWMT conferred as much benefit on WM performance as did standard-length training, with both CWMT groups improving more than the waitlist-control group.There was no evidence of any transfer effects but the standard-length group showed improvement in task-specific strategy use.This study failed to find robust evidence of benefits of standard-length CWMT for improving WM in college students with ADHD and the overall pattern of findings raise questions about the specificity of training effects.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To determine whether standard-length computerized training enhances working memory (WM), transfers to other cognitive domains and shows sustained effects, when controlling for motivation, engagement, and expectancy.

Methods: 97 post-secondary students (59.8% female) aged 18-35 years with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, were randomized into standard-length adaptive Cogmed WM training (CWMT; 45-min/session), a shortened-length adaptive version of CWMT (15 min/session) that controlled for motivation, engagement and expectancy of change, or into a no training group (waitlist-control group). All three groups received weekly telephone calls from trained coaches, who supervised the CWMT and were independent from the research team. All were evaluated before and 3 weeks post-training; those in the two CWMT groups were also assessed 3 months post-training. Untrained outcome measures of WM included the WAIS-IV Digit Span (auditory-verbal WM), CANTAB Spatial Span (visual-spatial WM) and WRAML Finger Windows (visual-spatial WM). Transfer-of-training effects included measures of short-term memory, cognitive speed, math and reading fluency, complex reasoning, and ADHD symptoms.

Results: Performance on 5/7 criterion measures indicated that shortened-length CWMT conferred as much benefit on WM performance as did standard-length training, with both CWMT groups improving more than the waitlist-control group. Only 2 of these findings remained robust after correcting for multiple comparisons. Follow-up analyses revealed that post-training improvements on WM performance were maintained for at least three months. There was no evidence of any transfer effects but the standard-length group showed improvement in task-specific strategy use.

Conclusions: This study failed to find robust evidence of benefits of standard-length CWMT for improving WM in college students with ADHD and the overall pattern of findings raise questions about the specificity of training effects.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01657721.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Hypothetical Effects.
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pone.0137173.g001: Hypothetical Effects.

Mentions: Four hypothetical scenarios for results for our RCT are shown in Fig 1. Findings conforming to the pattern shown in Panel A would indicate no effects of working memory training. The pattern of findings shown in Panel B indicates a classic ‘dose-effect’, in which shortened-length training confers some benefits, but not as great as with standard-length training. In contrast, Panel C shows a high-intensity threshold effect, in which only the standard-length training confers beneficial effects, with shortened-length training being no different than waitlist control. The fourth panel, Panel D indicates a low-intensity threshold effect in which shortened-length training confers as much benefit as standard-length training.


Working Memory Training in Post-Secondary Students with ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Study.

Mawjee K, Woltering S, Tannock R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Hypothetical Effects.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4580470&req=5

pone.0137173.g001: Hypothetical Effects.
Mentions: Four hypothetical scenarios for results for our RCT are shown in Fig 1. Findings conforming to the pattern shown in Panel A would indicate no effects of working memory training. The pattern of findings shown in Panel B indicates a classic ‘dose-effect’, in which shortened-length training confers some benefits, but not as great as with standard-length training. In contrast, Panel C shows a high-intensity threshold effect, in which only the standard-length training confers beneficial effects, with shortened-length training being no different than waitlist control. The fourth panel, Panel D indicates a low-intensity threshold effect in which shortened-length training confers as much benefit as standard-length training.

Bottom Line: Performance on 5/7 criterion measures indicated that shortened-length CWMT conferred as much benefit on WM performance as did standard-length training, with both CWMT groups improving more than the waitlist-control group.There was no evidence of any transfer effects but the standard-length group showed improvement in task-specific strategy use.This study failed to find robust evidence of benefits of standard-length CWMT for improving WM in college students with ADHD and the overall pattern of findings raise questions about the specificity of training effects.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To determine whether standard-length computerized training enhances working memory (WM), transfers to other cognitive domains and shows sustained effects, when controlling for motivation, engagement, and expectancy.

Methods: 97 post-secondary students (59.8% female) aged 18-35 years with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, were randomized into standard-length adaptive Cogmed WM training (CWMT; 45-min/session), a shortened-length adaptive version of CWMT (15 min/session) that controlled for motivation, engagement and expectancy of change, or into a no training group (waitlist-control group). All three groups received weekly telephone calls from trained coaches, who supervised the CWMT and were independent from the research team. All were evaluated before and 3 weeks post-training; those in the two CWMT groups were also assessed 3 months post-training. Untrained outcome measures of WM included the WAIS-IV Digit Span (auditory-verbal WM), CANTAB Spatial Span (visual-spatial WM) and WRAML Finger Windows (visual-spatial WM). Transfer-of-training effects included measures of short-term memory, cognitive speed, math and reading fluency, complex reasoning, and ADHD symptoms.

Results: Performance on 5/7 criterion measures indicated that shortened-length CWMT conferred as much benefit on WM performance as did standard-length training, with both CWMT groups improving more than the waitlist-control group. Only 2 of these findings remained robust after correcting for multiple comparisons. Follow-up analyses revealed that post-training improvements on WM performance were maintained for at least three months. There was no evidence of any transfer effects but the standard-length group showed improvement in task-specific strategy use.

Conclusions: This study failed to find robust evidence of benefits of standard-length CWMT for improving WM in college students with ADHD and the overall pattern of findings raise questions about the specificity of training effects.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01657721.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus