Visuospatial Executive Functions are Improved by Brief Brain Training in Young Rugby Players - Evidence of Far Transfer Test Effects: A Pilot Study

BARKER, Lynne and OLEDZKA, Aleksandra (2021). Visuospatial Executive Functions are Improved by Brief Brain Training in Young Rugby Players - Evidence of Far Transfer Test Effects: A Pilot Study. OBM Neurobiology, 5 (2).

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Brain training apps are becoming increasingly popular for at home use and as an adjunct to more traditional therapies. There is uncertainty about whether the effects of brain training transfer to real-world cognition, or performance on other cognitive assessment tests, or is specific only to the brain training app. Executive functions (EF’s) are higher-order cognitive processes important for activities of everyday living and autonomous goal-directed behaviour [1]. EF’s are associated with frontal brain networks that are susceptible to injury after head trauma and concussion so it is important to know whether these functions can be trained after a short training period (transfer effects beyond gains on app play), to general cognitive ability but findings so far have been mixed. The present study investigated efficacy of brief computerised brain training to in producing far-transfer effects to performance on standardised clinical tests of cognition in young rugby players with mixed concussion history, over a 4-week period. Athletes cognitive ability was assessed at baseline and after the training period on standardised tests to establish whether there were transfer effects. The putative relationship between concussion frequency and severity on baseline cognitive performance was also investigated. Results showed effective transfer effects from initial training to selective visuospatial executive functions. There was also a decline over the training period in non-verbal strategy initiation, although ability remained at average levels. Players showed no cognitive deficits at baseline, but correlational analyses and MR results indicated that concussion frequency, not severity, was a significant predictor of some visuospatial executive function scores at baseline. These preliminary findings hold promise for full scale studies investigating efficacy of brief brain training and association between sport-related concussion and cognition.

Item Type: Article
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Teacher Education
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 11:02
Last Modified: 06 May 2021 11:02

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