Scientists at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas in Dallas reported the results of a new cognitive training therapy for people with traumatic brain injury.
The study looked at 60 volunteers ages 19 to 65 who had sustained at least one traumatic brain injury. Half of them received an educational, information-based program about the brain.
The other half received the SMART (Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training) cognitive brain training, which teaches people how to think creatively, ignore irrelevant details, and organize and summarize relevant information. Afterward, both groups were tested.
The volunteers who received the SMART cognitive training demonstrated an improvement on their memory test scores of more than 30 percent, as well as more than a 20 percent boost in abstract reasoning abilities.
This group also experienced significant mood benefits, as depressive symptoms were reduced by 60 percent.
Brain scans showed that the SMART intervention even led to increases in brain blood flow in regions controlling thinking, cognitive performance, and emotional regulation.
This program and related forms of cognitive rehabilitation could eventually offer hope for a faster recovery from traumatic brain injury and the chronic mental symptoms that result from those injuries.
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