Computerized cognitive training for children with Neurofibromatosis type 1

Institution: Children’s National Medical Center

Investigator(s): Dr. Kristina Hardy, Dr. Maria Teresa Acosta

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: The most common neurological complication of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is cognitive dysfunction, including reduced cognitive flexibility, attention, working memory (WM) capacity, inhibition and planning. The majority of children with NF1 evidence difficulty with sustained attention and up to 40% are diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Executive dysfunction, involving difficulties with WM and planning, is also an important cause of functional difficulties in this population. Difficulties with WM in children with NF1 are thought to contribute to problems across school, home, and social domains. Given the high incidence and burdens of attention and WM problems in children with NF1, identifying feasible and efficacious interventions is a critical priority. The aim of this research is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of Cogmed with children with NF1 and comorbid cognitive deficits, to estimate the effect size of Cogmed on measures of attention and spatial WM in children with NF1 to determine whether a larger-scale clinical trial is warranted and to determine the feasibility of using R-fMRI to assess changes in functional connectivity as a more sensitive index of impact of Cogmed for cognitive deficits.
Population & Sample Size: N = 30 children with NF1 (screened for low WM) in adaptive Cogmed training group, ages 8 -16 years

Design: Feasibility, Test-retest