Working memory intervention with lead poisoned elementary school children

Institution: Wayne State University

Investigator(s): Dr. Teresa Holtrop, Dr. Lisa Chiodo

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: 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. Detroit ranks fourth in the nation of large cities with high prevalence of childhood lead poisoning and a review of available data showed that 25% of the current Detroit Public Schools’ active student population had a history of having blood lead levels greater than 5mcg/dL at some point in their life. The most effective means to date for decreasing lead exposure is by removing it from the physical environment. However, little is known in terms of rehabilitation for individuals previously poisoned by lead. Given the prevalence of lead poisoning and the deleterious effects on health and academic outcomes, researchers in this project will assess the impact of Cogmed on neuropsychological functioning of previously lead poisoned, school-age children with special emphasis on working memory ability and examine the short and long-term effectiveness of Cogmed in improving both reading and math ability.

Population & Sample Size: N = 40 children with lead poisoning (> 10 mcg/dL) in adaptive Cogmed training group, ages 7 -10 years

Design: Feasibility, Test-retest