Working memory intervention with lead poisoned elementary school children

Institution: Wayne State University

Investigator(s): Teresa Holtrop, M.D., Lisa Chiodo, Ph.D.

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: Over the years, childhood lead poisoning in Detroit has consistently accounted for more than 50% of the State of Michigan’s total lead burden (Michigan Department of Community Health, 2010). In 2007, there were 2,031 children with elevated blood lead levels in the state. Fifty-seven percent (i.e. 1,147 children) were from the city of Detroit. In 2008, Detroit’s children represented 58% of all lead poisoned children statewide. Nationally, Detroit ranks fourth in the nation of large cities with high prevalence of childhood lead poisoning (CDC, 2003). Lead poisoning has been known for decades to cause damage to the brain, as manifested by attention and behavior problems along with increased risk for reading difficulties, school failure, and juvenile delinquency (Gatsonis & Needleman, 1992; Needleman, et al., 1996; Fox, 1992; Goldstein, 1992; Rice, 1992; Bellinger & Needleman, 1992; Schwartz, 1992; Schwartz & Otto, 1987; Fergusson, et al., 1997). This study will examine the effect of an intervention for children with a history of lead poisoning. It is unique inasmuch as no previous study has ever looked at the ability to provide neurorehabilitation to lead poisoned children. The intervention was selected to address the issues that are commonly seen in children with a history of lead poisoning, specifically impairment in working memory, a component of attention and executive functioning. This project uses a technology-based approach suitable for Tier 2 Response-To-Intervention (RTI) assessment techniques. Attention and executive functioning will be addressed by retraining working memory ability in elementary school aged children using Cogmed

Population & Sample Size: N = 60 Children with and without previous history of lead poisoning, ages 7 – 10 years old

Design: Randomized, Waitlist Controlled, Test-retest, 6 Month Follow Up