The investigators propose to develop a Telerehabilitation approach to working memory training for patients experiencing working memory deficits post stroke. The investigators have currently developed a game-like computerized working memory training program that can be accessed via the internet for research purposes. The investigators propose to refine the website to focus more on clinically based training, and to evaluate the feasibility and initial effectiveness of this approach in a pilot study with participants after stroke.
Vascular disease and stroke often affect working memory, which is the ability to hold information in mind in order to deal with tasks, such as reading, having a conversation, problem-solving and decision-making. Working memory deficits can lead to problems with everyday activities, affecting independence and quality of life. Thus, interventions to improve working memory are important for optimal health outcomes in individuals after stroke.
Currently, approaches to provide interventions for working memory deficits are limited to intensive face-to-face rehabilitation sessions requiring trained therapists over many weeks. Even one-on-one computerized training requires significant health care resources, however, including supervision of daily sessions by a trained therapist, set-up of the program on the computer, teaching the patient how to use the program, regular encouragement and feedback to maintain motivation, monitoring of progress, and trouble-shooting when there are difficulties. Thus, access to these interventions is usually restricted to patients currently in hospital in urban areas, and limited or not available to those in the community once discharged, or when treated in hospital in more rural settings. Thus, new approaches to increase accessibility of this intervention approach to patients are needed.
The investigators developed one method of working memory training which uses a computerized, game-like approach, which is ideal for providing intensive, repetitive practice, with feedback and monitoring of progress. While the maximally effective dose is not yet identified, adaptive training practice normally is provided for 5 days/week for 5-10 weeks. With this intensity, computerized working memory training has been shown to improve cognitive abilities in a range of groups (e.g., healthy younger and older adults, those with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stroke, schizophrenia) and these benefits can generalize to other cognitive abilities and be maintained, at least in the short term.
The investigators propose to develop and evaluate an internet-based intervention approach, using the computerized working memory method that has been shown to be effective in improving working memory in several patient groups, including stroke. The investigators will develop and refine a website that the investigators can use to provide an already available computerized game-like software program for working memory training, and conduct an initial evaluation of this approach for feasibility and effectiveness in a pilot study involving clinical sites in Nova Scotia.
- Adaptive Working Memory Training Behavioral
Intervention Desc: The working memory training task will consist of an online adaptive working memory program that will test and extend patients' working memory capacity. Adaptive refers to the increase in the number of items that the patient is required to remember. ARM 1: Kind: Experimental Label: Training Group Description: Participants will be 20 individuals post stroke, living in the community. The intervention, adaptive working memory training, is a dual n-back working memory task. This training will take place once for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks, with one week dedicated for familiarizing participants to the program in the very beginning (i.e., Week 1).
- Masking: Open Label
- Purpose: Treatment
- Endpoint: Efficacy Study
- Intervention: Single Group Assignment
|Type||Measure||Time Frame||Safety Issue|
|Primary||Baseline working memory function||Baseline||No|
|Primary||Change in working memory function between baseline and 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|
|Secondary||Baseline cognitive function||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Baseline premorbid intelligence quotient (IQ)||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Baseline aphasia assessment||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Change in aphasia assessment 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|
|Secondary||Baseline memory function||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Change in in memory function 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|
|Secondary||Baseline executive functioning||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Change in executive functioning 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|
|Secondary||Baseline attention function||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Change in attention function 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|
|Secondary||Baseline behaviour and motivation||Baseline||No|
|Secondary||Change in behaviour and motivation 6 weeks post training onset||6 weeks post training onset||No|