Research Reports - Computer-based cognitive rehabilitation interventions for traumatic brain injury

J Neurosci Nurs. 2017 Aug;49(4):235-240. doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000298.

Fetta J, Starkweather A, Gill JM.

BACKGROUND: Computer-based interventions have been developed to improve cognitive
performance after mild traumatic brain injury; however, a thorough evaluation of
this body of research has not been addressed in the literature.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to provide a synthesis and critical review
of current research studies that have tested the efficacy of computer-based
interventions on cognitive performance after mild traumatic brain injury.
METHODS: A critical review was conducted by identifying relevant studies in the
electronic databases PubMed/MEDLINE, PsycInfo, and CINAHL from 2011 to the
present. Because of the limited number of publications focused exclusively on
mild traumatic brain injury, research studies that assessed the impact of
computer-based interventions on cognitive outcomes in populations with acquired
brain injury were included.
RESULTS: Of the 58 studies identified, only 10 publications included participants
with mild traumatic brain injury. Overall, the identified studies did not use a
standard method for assessing the severity of traumatic brain injury, and many
studies included participants with a wide variety of etiologies for acquired
brain injury and used multiple measures of cognitive performance, which made
comparisons difficult across studies. In addition to small sample sizes, the
study samples were heterogeneous in regard to the number of previous traumatic
brain injuries, time elapsed since injury, and age and gender distributions.
Preinjury comorbidities that may affect cognitive performance, such as
depression, anxiety, or learning disabilities, were often not assessed.
DISCUSSION: There is weak evidence that computer-based interventions can improve
working memory and cognitive function in individuals after mild traumatic brain
injury. Because of the low-quality evidence, seminal questions remain regarding
the optimal format, dosage, timing, and duration of computer-based intervention
for improving cognitive performance. Future studies should focus on using a
strong research design, such as a prospective, longitudinal, repeated-measures
study, with an adequate number of participants who meet mild traumatic brain
injury criteria. Preinjury comorbidities, cognitive reserve, time since injury,
age, and gender should be addressed in the design because there may be
differences in recovery time and mechanisms of cognitive plasticity among
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, computer-based interventions seem promising as an approach
to improve working memory in individuals with acquired brain injury. There is no
evidence that currently available interventions are specific to mild traumatic
brain injury. Well-designed research studies with adequate sample sizes are
needed to assess the effect of computer-based interventions on cognitive
performance after mild traumatic brain injury. 

« Back to Special Reports

Contact Us

We will gladly answer all or your questions about rehabilitation at Centre for Neuro Skills.


phone 1.800.922.4994
or Request a Callback

brain injury store

free brain injury newsletter

why choose cns for brain injury rehabilitation

brain injury newsletter

brain injury store