Hassler, M.R., Elandt, K., Preusser, M., Lehrner, J., Binder, P., Dieckmann, K., . . . Marosi, C. (2010). Neurocognitive training in patients with high-grade glioma: A pilot study. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 97, 109–115.10.1007/s11060-009-0006-2
To evaluate the effectiveness of small group neurocognitive training to improve cognitive impairment in patients with brain tumors
Pre- and post-intervention cognitive testing was performed. The 10-week-long intervention consisted of 90-minute weekly group sessions of holistic mnemonic training, which included exercises to train perception, concentration, attention, memory, retentiveness, verbal memory, and creativity.
Pilot study with pre-/post-test design
Although comparison of mean group differences found improvement in all neuropsychological tests, separate dependent t-tests revealed statistically significant improvement only in verbal memory total learning (p < 0.05) as measured by the HVLT. Significant improvement was not seen in verbal memory delayed recall (p = 0.11) as measured by the HVLT, psychomotor speed (p = 0.22) as measured by the TMT-A, sustained attention (p = 0.17) as measured by the TMT-B, or verbal fluency (p = 0.29) as measured by the COWAT.
Significant improvement was found in verbal memory (total learning). However, it is not possible to distinguish whether the improvement was a benefit of the intervention or resulted from practice effects associated with the repeated measures occurring 12 weeks from baseline. Additionally, any assumptions regarding effectiveness of the intervention would need to be supported by a larger sample with an appropriate comparison control group.
Although neurocognitive training has been suggested as a potential intervention for cognitive impairment, further studies are needed (including feasibility). Effectiveness of this intervention cannot be established based on this pilot study.