Approximately 1.6 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury
(TBI) each year. A common consequence of TBI is cognitive dysfunction,
which may impair attention, learning and memory, executive function, and
attention. These deficits may significantly contribute to a negative personal
and work life. There are few interventions that can reliably and effectively
improve cognitive dysfunction after a TBI.
In a recent study, researchers assessed the Story Memory Technique (mSMT)
as a tool for improving memory function during the TBI recovery period.
They administered the mSMT, which involves word and image recall tasks,
to sixty-nine participants over a period of five weeks. Some participants
received monthly booster sessions, in which researchers coached them on
methods for applying mSMT tasks to everyday life.
The study found that:
- Half of participants who received mSMT treatment showed significant neurological
improvements, while fewer than one-fifth of the non-treatment group showed
the same improvements.
- Participants who received mSMT treatment showed improvement on memory tasks
directly related to every aspects of memory functioning.
- Booster sessions were not significantly effective for long-term maintenance
of mSMT treatment.
This study was conducted as a randomized controlled trial, which is the
gold standard for assessing the effectiveness of an intervention. The
mSMT offers a treatment method that may significantly improve TBI patients’
memory abilities in the long-term.
Source: Chiaravalloti ND, Sandry J, Moore NB, et al. An RCT to treat learning
in traumatic brain injury: The TBI-Mem trial. Neurohabilitation and Neural
Repair. (June 2016).
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