SMART Program Helps TBI Patients Recover Higher-Order Thinking

man in hospital bed and caring nurse

The Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training (SMART) program is a relatively new tool for cognitive rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury. The program is based on "gist-reasoning," which is the ability to extract the "gist" of informational stories such as news articles or movies.

Past research has suggested that people with a traumatic brain injury have difficulty extracting and remembering the gist of stories, and that this impairment may be related to impairments in other higher-level thinking skills such as cognitive flexibility, concept abstraction, or fluency.

A study comparing the SMART program with a traditional cognitive rehabilitation program found that the SMART program improved not only gist-reasoning, but also other higher-order thinking skills. In addition, these new skills helped to improve performance in real-life situations, not just those within the study.

Vas AK, Chapman SB, Cook LG, et al. Higher-order reasoning training years after traumatic brain injury in adults. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (June 2011).