Working memory training: A randomized controlled treatment study in young ADHD children

Research institution: Radboud University

Researchers: Dr. Martine Boomsma & Dr. Dorine Slaats

Training program used in research: Cogmed RM

Status: Ongoing

Although there is mounting evidence for the efficacy of working memory training in ADHD, several methodological limitations (ie., small sample sizes, no randomization, small range of performed neuro-cognitive tasks, and weak diagnostic procedure) make further research necessary. Until now, there have been no studies measuring the efficacy of working memory training in the range of 4 ½ to 8 years of age. Preschoolers are of special interest because it is often the period of first clinical complaint and there is a lack of striking evidence of efficacy of psychostimulants in this group. Further, parents are reluctant to give their young child medication because of the lack of research regarding the long-term effects of stimulant medication on children’s physical and neurological well being. So, alternative, non-pharmacological based therapies are needed.

This will be the first Dutch study investigating the effects of Cogmed WM training. Thus, researchers will critically evaluate the efficacy of the Dutch version of Cogmed Working Memory Training in reducing symptoms of ADHD, using a well-performed screening method (including a psychiatric interview) and a robust methodological design with a large sample size and follow-up.

The intent of this double blind, randomized, controlled study is to investigate the efficacy of working memory training in reducing behavioral symptoms and improving neuro-cognitive functioning in young children with ADHD. One hundred participants, ages 4.6 to 7.4 years will be assigned to either the adaptive Cogmed training or non-adaptive Cogmed training. Training will take place 30-40 minutes per day, 5 days a week for 5 weeks.