Objective: To conduct a feasibility study to compare the effects of top-down Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training (SMART) versus information-based Brain Health Workshop (BHW, control) on gist-reasoning (ie, abstracting novel meaning from complex information), memory, executive functions, and daily function in adults with traumatic brain injury.
Participants: Twenty-eight participants (of the 35 recruited), 16 men & 12 women, aged 20 to 65 years (M = 43, SD = 11.34) at chronic stages posttraumatic brain injury (2 years or longer) completed the training. Fourteen participants that received SMART and 14 participants that completed BHW were assessed both pre- and posttraining. Thirteen of the SMART trained and 11 from BHW participated in a 6-month testing.
Design: The study was a single blinded randomized control trial. Participants in both groups received a minimum of 15 hours of training over 8 weeks.
Results: The SMART group significantly improved gist-reasoning as compared to the BHW group. Benefits of the SMART extended to untrained measures of working memory and participation in functional activities. Exploratory analyses suggested potential transfer effects of SMART on memory and executive functions. The benefits of the SMART program as compared to BHW were evident at immediately posttraining and 6 months posttraining.
Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence that short-term intensive training in top-down modulation of information benefits gist-reasoning and generalizes to measures of executive function and real life function at chronic stages of post-TBI.