Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Memory Training with Imagery and Context

Very interesting. Look to see more interest from scientific groups re: studying learning strategies and cognitive therapy. For a variety of reasons (e.g. scientific research groups get funding for basic science and drug study, not education, students are in school to be educated, not tested on experimental curricula etc.), there are surprisingly few scientific studies into the relative benefits of educational strategies.

Dyslexia is paving the way for some of this, but found this recent interesting result from Multiple Sclerosis researchers.

In this paper (sorry, we can link only to abstract at present), investigators used fairly simple training in imagery and context to see if the general practice could result in better word list memory. Voila! It does.

The training was pretty simple - 2 sessions a week for 4 weeks (45 min each). The first sessions were use to train imagery (read high-image stories, use images to recall story). Second part dealt with contextual recall- recall story details with contextual cues (words preceding relevant word in story) and category hints about words. The third part involved therapist hints about connections between words to encourage visualization of scenes. Finally, patients were given a list of words and encouraged to link them together to visualize a scene. When patients with this strategy were tested 5 weeks later, they continued to show benefits in their memory.

In many ways, MS patients with memory deficits may be similar to kids with memory deficits who have suffered mild or diffuse brain injury. The results may also be helpful to adult with diffuse conditions like diabetes, lacunar strokes, or age-related memory decline.

Memory Training in MS

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