Working memory training in adolescents with pediatric bipolar disorder

Research institution: University of Illinois, Chicago

Researchers: Dr. Mani Pavulluri, Dr. Alessandra Passarotti, & Dr. Linda Laatsch

Training program used in research: Cogmed RM

Status: Ongoing

Given that working memory deficits are associated with scholastic underachievement and poor interpersonal functions (Pavuluri et al., 2006; Barnett et al., 2009) and may worsen in pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) with development compared to healthy peers (Pavuluri et al., 2009) it is crucial to develop innovative targeted cognitive intervention that may help reduce these severe cognitive deficits in PBD and prevent worsening of cognitive function and school performance as the child develops.

The main goal of this project is to use the Cogmed Working Memory Training Program for school-age children to test whether adolescents with PBD will improve their visuo-spatial working memory functions after undergoing intensive 5-week working memory training. In the proposed pilot study, 10 PBD patients will undergo the Cogmed Working Memory Training intervention, whereas 10 PBD patients will undergo a control condition. Improvements in working memory functions in the two groups as a function of training type will then be compared.