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Treating Inattention in Adults

Inattention is one of the most common symptoms encountered in clinical psychological evaluations. It is manifested as an inability to keep instructions in mind, plan ahead, focus on the content while reading and keep on-task at work. This impairs the ability to learn, execute and perform at work.

Symptoms of inattention are the core cognitive symptoms in ADHD and ADD. Inattention is also frequently present in after stroke and after traumatic head injuries. 

 

Cogmed is the most effective and well researched digital therapeutic to improve attention. There is a strong connection between attention and working memory and by improving working memory, attention in everyday life is also improved.

 
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Cogmed is a method based on the principles of neuroplasticity, specifically targeting the fronto-parietal networks for attention and working memory, as reported in high-impact, scientific journals, . 

The enhancement of attention has been demonstrated in several randomized, controlled studies, by independent research groups, . These studies show clinically meaningful, long lasting effects using standardized rating scales.

 

The effect on attention and working memory is larger than the cognitive improvement from pharmacological ADHD-treatments and improves cognition more than cardiovascular fitness training does. In rehabilitation after stroke and head injury, Cogmed improves both cognition and occupational performance.

For more information, visit cogmed.com

 

Grow your working memory by two inches

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When someone considers taking on the Cogmed programme, spending the time and effort required, they often wonder what to expect – how much will my attention improve? This is an important question, and like all medical and therapeutic treatments, the short answer is “it depends”.  But that answer is not very helpful on its own, so here is a longer and more nuanced answer. 

Cogmed is primarily affecting your working memory, which means this is the first aspect where a change will take place. Based on several large scale research studies over the last decades, it has been shown that five weeks of training with Cogmed typically leads to an improved working memory capacity by 0.7 standard deviations. Most of us do not have an intuitive understanding of what to make of that number, so let’s compare that to height:

The average height of an 18 year old male is 178.4 centimeters (5ft 10in) and of a female is 164.7 (5ft 5in). Increasing those heights by 0.7 standard deviations is equivalent to getting 5.32 and 4.97 centimeters taller (2.1 and 2.0 inches) respectively. 

Five centimeters might not sound like a lot, but imagine someone trying hard to make it onto a basketball team. For them, height might be one of the critical factors, holding their performance back. If that is the case, increasing it by 0.7 standard deviations can be the difference between making the team or not. 

The same is true for working memory. There are many situations where the ability to stay focused is one of the most important factors holding back performance, such as for a third grader working on their reading fluency, or a student cramming for final exams. In these cases, and many others, two extra inches of working memory may be the difference between failure and success.

 
 

Sometimes you might hear that “your brain is a muscle”.  Well, it is not.  Your brain is far more advanced than a muscle, but also completely useless at lifting heavy objects off the ground. 

There are some similarities though, especially when it comes to training. Because, just as you can exercise your muscles to get stronger, you can train parts of your brain too, and specifically those related to Working Memory, to increase your ability to pay attention – a skill most people find really useful. 

Here are seven aspects where working out your body and training your brain are similar:

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True about weight training

  • Repeated training leads to muscle growth
    It only works if you push yourself, and lift sufficiently heavy weights

  • A well designed training program leads to more effect for the same training
    It is easy to lose interest or motivation, and drop out of gym practice if you don’t have a personal trainer

  • Some effects are quick: the muscles you exercise can respond and get noticeably  stronger after only a few weeks

  • Other effects are indirect, but perhaps more valued: a better tennis serve, a new posture, reduced back ache, better sleep, improved self confidence

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True about Working Memory training

  • Repeated training of Working Memory leads to increased capacity

  • It only works if you push yourself, and work on sufficiently hard memory tasks

  • A well designed training program is needed for the training to be effective at all

  • It is easy to lose interest or motivation, and drop out of working memory practice if you don’t have a coach

  • Some effects are quick: your ability to keep information in mind can get noticeably better after only a few weeks

  • Other effects are indirect, but perhaps more valued: ability to stay focused for longer times, better at mental calculation, faster learning, improved reading comprehension, better impulse control, improved self confidence 

Those are similarities, but there are differences too. One of them is that it is much easier to find a training program for your muscles that actually works. Cogmed offers something unique: a training program that helps you increase your Working Memory, and thereby your ability to pay attention for longer periods of time, with more than 100 clinical studies to confirm its effectiveness. Find a summary of them at cogmed.com/working-memory/research