New study examines promising approach to treating attention and working memory difficulties in children with sickle cell disease


April 07, 2021

An adaptive cognitive teaching software could aid handle awareness and doing the job memory troubles in little ones with sickle mobile illness (SCD), a new study revealed in the of Journal of Pediatric Psychology demonstrates. 

These neurocognitive troubles have realistic implications for the 100,000 people today in the U.S. with SCD, as 20-forty% of youth with SCD repeat a quality in school and fewer than fifty percent of grown ups with SCD are used. Interventions to protect against and handle neurocognitive troubles prompted by SCD have the possible to considerably strengthen tutorial outcomes, vocational attainment and excellent of existence. 

The study, led by Steven Hardy, Ph.D., director of Psychology and Client Treatment Products and services at the Heart for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Countrywide Clinic, examined a promising solution utilizing an adaptive cognitive teaching software (acknowledged as Cogmed Doing work Memory Schooling) that people total at dwelling on an iPad.

Employing a randomized controlled trial design and style, little ones have been questioned to total Cogmed teaching classes 3 to five times for every week for about thirty minutes at a time until they completed twenty five classes. The Cogmed software consists of activity-like doing the job memory exercise routines that adapt to the user’s efficiency, gradually becoming additional challenging more than time as efficiency enhances. The workforce found that people with sickle mobile illness who completed the cognitive teaching intervention showed important enhancement in visual doing the job memory in contrast to a waitlist team that made use of Cogmed just after the waiting around period. Treatment consequences have been in particular notable for people who completed a teaching “dose” of 10 classes. 

“Patients who completed at the very least 10 cognitive teaching classes showed improved visual doing the job memory, verbal limited-phrase memory and math fluency,” Dr. Hardy stated. 

SCD increases threat for neurocognitive troubles simply because of cerebrovascular complications (these kinds of as overt strokes and silent cerebral infarcts) and fundamental illness features (these kinds of as long-term anemia). Neurocognitive consequences of SCD most typically include complications with awareness, doing the job memory and other government features. 

“This study demonstrates that electronic doing the job memory teaching is an powerful solution to dealing with neurocognitive deficits in youth with sickle mobile illness,” Dr. Hardy extra. “We also found that positive aspects of the teaching prolong to jobs that include limited-phrase verbal memory and math efficiency when people are capable to stick with the software and total at the very least 10 teaching classes. These positive aspects could have a authentic effect on daily residing, creating it simpler to bear in mind and stick to directions in school and at dwelling, arrange jobs or remedy math complications that require remembering information and facts for limited intervals of time.”

To day, there have been couple of initiatives to test interventions that handle the neurocognitive difficulties seasoned by several people today with SCD. These findings present that talents are modifiable and that a non-pharmacological remedy exists. 

The Comprehensive Sickle Cell Ailment Plan at Children’s Countrywide is a chief in pediatric SCD research and clinical innovation. This study was funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which was the only Improvements in Medical Exploration Award at any time awarded to a psychologist (out of 31 grants totaling more than $15 million), since the award founded a concentration on sickle mobile illness in 2009. 

Media get hold of: Ariana Perez | 202-476-4500