LearningRx Brain Training Changes Behavior and Cognition for Children With ADHD

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New Research Shows Learning Rx Cognitive Training Transfers to Cognitive and Behavioral Improvements

The results of a randomized controlled trial, published yesterday in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, support the efficacy of the LearningRx clinician-delivered cognitive training program in improving cognition and behavior in children ages 8 to 14 years with ADHD. The study showed the treatment group outperformed the control group on eight of the nine measures with statistically significant differences in working memory, long-term memory, logic and reasoning, auditory processing, and IQ score—as well as transfer to parent-reported changes in self-discipline, cooperative behaviors, and confidence. All treatment group participants saw a clinically-significant change in General Intellectual Ability—an indicator of overall recovery following the training.

The study is the first of its kind to evaluate the efficacy of a comprehensive, clinician-delivered cognitive training program targeting multiple cognitive abilities in children with ADHD, offering an important contribution to the knowledge base on cognitive training effects in this population. It was led by Dick M. Carpenter II, Ph.D., University of Colorado Springs; Christina Ledbetter, Ph.D., Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Amy Lawson Moore, Ph.D., Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research. “Because children with ADHD typically have a cluster of several weak cognitive skills, it is critical that an intervention targets multiple areas,” says educational psychologist and co-investigator Dr. Moore. “In addition, the psychosocial aspect of this program is a key piece in leading to transfer beyond the trained tasks. Working one-on-one with a cognitive trainer is essential for setting and reaching goals and staying motivated.”

Because children with ADHD typically have a cluster of several weak cognitive skills, it is critical that an intervention targets multiple areas.

Amy Lawson Moore, Ph.D., Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research

The study evaluated the effects of ThinkRx, a brain training program that targets multiple cognitive skills through 60 hours of clinician-delivered cognitive training. In this trial, 13 participants aged 8 to 14 years with ADHD were randomly assigned to a treatment-as-usual control group or an experimental group that underwent training with ThinkRx. Researchers examined changes on standard neuropsychological tests as well as parent-reported changes in behavior. The full results are available at https://www.dovepress.com/articles.php?article_id=39028.

“The results in existing research on brain training for ADHD have been inconsistent and generally fail to show transfer. This study, however, not only revealed improvements in multiple cognitive skills but the training effects transferred to behavioral changes as well,” said Dr. Moore. “This finding has profound implications for brain training and its real-life benefits for children with ADHD.” The study complements recent findings presented by Dr. Moore and clinical neuroscientist and co-author Christina Ledbetter, Ph.D., at the 2017 American Psychological Association Annual Convention, which found that working memory, long-term memory, and processing speed were the greatest cognitive deficits among more than 5000 people with ADHD (https://www.gibsonresearchinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2017APA_Ledbetter-Moore-poster.pdf): “We have to intensely train a variety of cognitive skills—not just attention—if we want the intervention to effectively impact the child’s thinking, learning, and behavior,” says Dr. Ledbetter. “That’s what makes the ThinkRx program effective. Training with intensity.”

About Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research

Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the non-profit research laboratory at LearningRx World Headquarters. The mission of the Gibson Institute is to conduct empirical research on cognitive training programs and assessments, to communicate the latest research findings to the education and cognitive science communities, and to inform the practices of cognitive trainers through rigorous testing of training programs and procedures in both the laboratory and ecologically-valid training environments. To learn more about the Gibson Institute, visit www.gibsonresearchinstitute.org.

Source: Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research