Last updated on March 2019

Rehabilitation of Visual Attention Following mTBI


Brief description of study

The objective of this proposal is to evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation for visual attention deficits in U.S. military service members across three programs: Visual Attention and Working Memory Programs (UCR Games), Speech Pathologist-Directed Treatment, and General Cognitive Rehabilitation Games (Lumosity).

In addition to the above prospective component, this study also has a retrospective component in which archival data collected from routine clinical care will be examined for analysis. The investigators hope to gain a better understanding of the unique and cumulative influence different cognitive rehabilitation programs have on improving attention complaints in mTBI.

Detailed Study Description

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is one of the most commonly sustained combat-related injuries. Complaints of poor attention often follow mTBI and can become chronic in some individuals. Chronic attention complaints have traditionally been treated with cognitive rehabilitation by speech pathologists. Recent research has shown that computerized programs may add additional value either independently or in conjunction with traditional therapies. Researchers at UC Riverside have already completed research showing that vision training, using the ULTIMEYES program that they created, led to improved vision both on standard assessments, such as reading eye-charts, and in real world skills, such as reading and playing baseball. This program is designed to broadly improve basic aspects of vision, such as visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as high-level vision, such as attention. Furthermore, an associated memory training task (Recall The Game) shows improvements in memory tasks and transfer to skills such as fluid intelligence.

The objective of this proposal is to evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation for visual attention deficits in U.S. military service members across three programs:

  1. Visual Attention and Memory Program (UCR Games)
  2. Cognitive and Psychological Based Rehabilitation (Speech Pathologist-Directed Therapy)
  3. General Cognitive Rehabilitation Games (Lumosity [2])

The investigators hope to gain a better understanding of the unique and cumulative influence of different cognitive rehabilitation programs on improving attention complaints in mTBI. This proposal contains both retrospective and prospective components.

The retrospective component consists of examining archival data from Lumosity, previously collected as part of routine clinical care. The data contain pre- and post-assessments of post-concussive symptoms, symptom frequency, and cognitive testing. The investigators expect that data analysis will reveal evidence of improvement in severity of post-concussive symptoms, in frequency of troublesome cognitive problems, and in performance on neuropsychological tests when pre- and post-assessments are compared.

The prospective component will consist of 120 service members with mTBI who have ongoing attention complaints and are more than three months post-injury. Each service member will be randomly assigned to one of four arms, differentiated only by the specific computer-based rehabilitation program used. All individuals will also be treated per current standard of care guidelines by a speech pathologist.

Each of the four arms will be comprised of 30 participants. A cognitive testing battery will be administered to each participant before and after implementation of each intervention. The cognitive testing battery form will vary based on time of administration in order to control for practice effects. Performance on the cognitive testing battery and self-report measures will be compared between and within the three arms.

This research will help the military to identify the best cognitive rehabilitation treatment program to address ongoing attention complaints following mTBI.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02719964

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Naval Medical Center San Diego

San Diego, CA United States
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