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Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD--a randomized, controlled trial.

Journal article
Authors Torkel Klingberg
Elisabeth Fernell
Pernille J Olesen
Mats Johnson
Per Gustafsson
Kerstin Dahlström
Christopher Gillberg
Hans Forssberg
Helena Westerberg
Published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume 44
Issue 2
Pages 177-186
ISSN 0890-8567
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 177-186
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004583-2005020...
Keywords Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Epidemiology, Rehabilitation, Child, Computer-Assisted Instruction, Double-Blind Method, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Memory Disorders, Epidemiology, Therapy, Software, Teaching, Methods
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Deficits in executive functioning, including working memory (WM) deficits, have been suggested to be important in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). During 2002 to 2003, the authors conducted a multicenter, randomized, controlled, double-blind trial to investigate the effect of improving WM by computerized, systematic practice of WM tasks. METHOD: Included in the trial were 53 children with ADHD (9 girls; 15 of 53 inattentive subtype), aged 7 to 12 years, without stimulant medication. The compliance criterion (>20 days of training) was met by 44 subjects, 42 of whom were also evaluated at follow-up 3 months later. Participants were randomly assigned to use either the treatment computer program for training WM or a comparison program. The main outcome measure was the span-board task, a visuospatial WM task that was not part of the training program. RESULTS: For the span-board task, there was a significant treatment effect both post-intervention and at follow-up. In addition, there were significant effects for secondary outcome tasks measuring verbal WM, response inhibition, and complex reasoning. Parent ratings showed significant reduction in symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, both post-intervention and at follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that WM can be improved by training in children with ADHD. This training also improved response inhibition and reasoning and resulted in a reduction of the parent-rated inattentive symptoms of ADHD.

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