A new study has shown that plasticity-based brain training can drive improvements in patients with persistent symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Gains were observed in standard measures of cognition, standard measures of self-reported symptoms, and the connectivity between brain regions. The intervention used in the study was brain exercises from BrainHQ, made by Posit Science.
Traumatic Brain Injury affects millions of Americans every year, with an estimated 2.5 million treated in emergency rooms. Most recover fully, but for some, the symptoms persist for years and disrupt earning a livelihood and personal relations. An estimated two percent of Americans live with these long-term effects.
Researchers at New York University enrolled 21 patients with chronic TBI that had persisted, on average, for more than seven years. Patients were diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe TBI, and assigned to either an intervention group or a control group. The intervention group was asked to complete a total of 40 hours of training over 13 weeks (or about 3 hours per week). Before and after the 13-week period, cognitive function was measured with standardised neurocognitive tests, and brain connectivity was measured with fMRI brain imaging.
The researchers found that the brain training group showed significant improvements in standard cognitive tests of attention, memory, and executive function, as well as in standard measures of self-reported symptoms, as compared to the control group. Imaging revealed significant improvement in the functional connectivity across a key network of brain regions – known as the Default Mode Network (DMN). Lower connectivity is associated with cognitive dysfunction and deficits.
“This new study confirms and extends what has been seen in seven prior studies of chronic TBI and BrainHQ, which have shown study participants improved measures of cognitive abilities and symptoms, with imaging showing functional re-organization of the brain” observed Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science.
These type of persistent symptoms — following not just Traumatic Brain Injuries, but other types of injuries such as “chemobrain,” “cardiobrain,” and “long COVID” — are increasingly known as “brain fog.” Researchers increasingly believe that common brain mechanisms underly the brain fog seen across these disparate conditions – which may explain the similar pattern of results seen in three studies of BrainHQ in cancer patients and seven studies in heart failure patients showing similar types of improvement.
More than 100 published studies of the exercises in BrainHQ have shown benefits, including gains in standard measures of cognition (attention, speed, memory, executive function, social cognition), in standard measures of quality of life (mood, confidence and control, managing stress, health-related quality of life) and in real world activities (gait, balance, driving, everyday cognition, maintaining independence). BrainHQ is now offered, without charge, as a benefit by leading national and 5-star Medicare Advantage plans and by hundreds of clinics, libraries, and communities. Consumers can also try BrainHQ for free at http://www.brainhq.com.