Cognitive Training for Inattentive ADHD

Individuals with predominantly inattentive ADHD often respond poorly or not at all to stimulant medication. Medications such as Stratterra do not help all inattentive ADHD patients either so other non-medication treatment approaches are needed to address the symptoms of ADHD inattentive.

There are several cognitive training programs on the market that have been shown to improved working memory and executive function. These two problems are at the core of the symptoms of ADHD and they offer a solution for patients who cannot take medication or in patients where medication is of limited benefit.

Cogmed is a program developed by Torkel Klingberg, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. They have found that improving working memory skills may reduce ADHD symptoms and may cause permanent changes in brain growth that enhance the individual’s ability to learn. Dr Klingberg has been able to demonstrate changes in the density of cortical dopamine receptors after fourteen hours of working memory training. This is the first human study to show a change in the dopamine receptor system as a result of cognitive training.

The Cogmed program involves twenty-five, 40 minute, computer sessions completed over a period of 5 weeks. The child plays computer memory games and is rewarded at the end of a session with a Gameboy type robot game. I have a friend whose son used this program. His mother has told me that the child was very resistant to completing the 40 minute sessions but that she feels that it helped him.

A program out of Austria called CogniPlus promises to provide training to all aspects of cognitive functioning including; attention, executive function, visual memory, field of view training, and visuomotor coordination. This program should be on the market by the end of 2010.

A preschool program called 'Tools of the Mind' uses several games to improve executive function. These include regulatory speech where a child is forced to publicly speak his actions or is required to check that a spoken task such as counting is done correctly, dramatic play, and props for aiding memory and attention. Children trained with "Tools of the Mind" showed an executive function advantage on nearly every measure tested. Long-term outcome measures are now being evaluated to determine if these executive function advantages persist as the child ages.

Not all executive function training is done with mind exercising. A new study published in 2010 has demonstrated that resistance training with weights, twice a week, improved the executive cognitive functioning in elderly women. There is reason to believe that these exercises would help children with ADHD as well.

Cognitive training is a huge growth industry. Cognitive development programs are being marketed not only to the ADHD community but also to our aging population. As our huge cohort of baby boomers ages, more companies will be studying executive functioning and developing interventions to improve memory, cognitive flexibility, the prioritization of information, time awareness skills, and the organization of information. This is exciting as these are the very cognitive functions that are problematic in individuals with ADHD.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.