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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