The impact of a home-based, computerized cognitive intervention on working memory in children with pediatric epilepsy

Institution: Children’s National Medical Center

Investigator(s): Dr. Madison Berl

Program: Cogmed RM

Aim: Working memory (WM) may be a moderator of the neurocognitive impairments associated with pediatric epilepsy. Executive functioning skills such as WM are necessary for efficient performance of a task regardless of domain (e.g. language, visual spatial, motor); making these skills essential to a child’s success in academic, social, and emotional domains. Further support for WM as a key cognitive liability in children with epilepsy is the high comorbidity of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), ranging from 20 – 50% across studies of pediatric epilepsy. Most commonly epileptic children are of the Inattentive subtype of ADHD. Thus, children with epilepsy who experience these cognitive difficulties may also be responsive to the same interventions as ADHD populations. The aim of this project is therefore to assess the impact of Cogmed on the WM of pediatric epilepsy patients and to examine the neural underpinnings of WM impairments and subsequent intervention by determining the extent to which white matter organization (as measured by Fractional Anisotropy (FA)) is associated with WM abilities.

Population & Sample Size: N = 40 children with epilepsy, ages 10-14 years

Design: Randomized, Placebo controlled, Test-retest, 3 month follow-up