Research Reports - Individual differences in working memory capacity predicts responsiveness to memory rehabilitation after TBI

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Nov 30. pii: S0003-9993(15)01469-0. doi:
10.1016/j.apmr.2015.10.109. [Epub ahead of print]

Sandry J(1), Chiou KS(2), DeLuca J(3), Chiaravalloti ND(4).

OBJECTIVE: To explore how individual differences impact rehabilitation outcomes
by specifically investigating whether working memory capacity (WMC) can be used
as a cognitive-marker to identify who will and will not improve from memory
rehabilitation.
DESIGN: Post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled clinical trial designed to
treat learning and memory impairment following TBI. 2 X 2 between subjects
quasi-experimental design: 2 (Group: Treatment vs. Control) X 2 (WMC: High vs.
Low).
SETTING: Nonprofit medical rehabilitation research center PARTICIPANTS: 65
moderate to severe participants with TBI with pre and post-treatment data.
INTERVENTIONS: The treatment group completed 10 cognitive rehabilitation sessions
in which subjects were taught a memory strategy focusing on learning to use
context and imagery to remember information. The placebo-control group engaged in
active therapy sessions that did not involve learning the memory strategy.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Long-term memory percent retention change scores for an
unorganized list of words from the California Verbal Learning Test-II.
RESULTS: Group and WMC interacted (p=.008,ηp(2)=.12). High WMC participants
showed a benefit from treatment compared to low WMC participants. Individual
differences in WMC accounted for 45% of the variance in whether or not
participants with TBI in the treatment group benefited from applying the
compensatory treatment strategy to learn unorganized information.
CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with higher WMC showed a significantly greater
rehabilitation benefit when applying the compensatory strategy to learn
unorganized information. WMC is a useful cognitive-marker for identifying
participants with TBI who respond to memory rehabilitation with the modified
story memory technique.

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