Long-Term Academic Functioning following Cogmed Working Memory Training for Children Born Extremely Preterm: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Peter J. Anderson, Katherine J. Lee, Gehan Roberts, Megan M. Spencer-smith, Deanne K. Thompson, Marc L. Seal, Chiara Nosarti, Andrea Grehan, Elisha K. Josev, Susan Gathercole, Lex W. Doyle, Leona Pascoe

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Abstract

Objective
To assess the effectiveness of Cogmed Working Memory Training compared with a placebo program in improving academic functioning 24 months post-training in extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight 7-year-olds.

Study design
A multicenter double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial was conducted across all tertiary neonatal hospitals in the state of Victoria, Australia. Participants were 91 extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight 7-year-old children born in Victoria in 2005. Children were randomly assigned to either the Cogmed or placebo arm and completed the Cogmed or placebo program (20-25 sessions of 35-40 minutes duration) at home over 5-7 weeks. Academic achievement (word reading, spelling, sentence comprehension, and mathematics) was assessed 24 months post-training, as well as at 2 weeks and 12 months post-training, via standardized testing inclusive of working memory, attention, and executive behavior assessments. Data were analyzed using an intention-to-treat approach with mixed-effects modeling.

Results
There was little evidence of any benefits of Cogmed on academic functioning 24 months post-training, as well as on working memory, attention, or executive behavior at any age up to 24 months post-training compared with the placebo program.

Conclusions
We currently do not recommend administration of Cogmed for early school-aged children born extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight to improve academic functioning.

Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12612000124831.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Early online date31 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2018

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