Brain games may not fix your memory problem

You may be a bit puzzled by our headline because, after all, isn't this a site about a brain training game?

 What's the best way for the brain to relearn following injury

What's the best way for the brain to relearn following injury

The fact is, if you have a memory or other problem of cognition you probably need Cognitive Rehabilitation and this can be assisted with certain computer software such as RehaCom which is specifically designed for the purpose. RehaCom may look like a form of game but it was designed  with cognitive rehabilitation in mind.

Although there is often confusion, Brain Training is not necessarily cognitive rehabilitation and computer games are not necessarily cognitive rehabilitation either.

What's cognition anyway?

Brain trauma such as a Stroke or traumatic brain injury - or conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, can cause difficulties with how we access and process information to use existing knowledge or generate new knowledge.  Depending on the nature of the brain injury there may be difficulties with how easily we pay attention and concentrate, remember things, organise and plan, judge situations for example and can even how we use our eyes to perceive the world.

The nature and extent of the disruption to cognitive function will vary significantly from person to person and to seek and find improvement requires a highly individualised approach too.

Can cognitive function be restored?

The aim of cognitive rehabilitation, just like physical rehabilitation, aims to get the individual back to the highest practical level of functional independence.  As we said above, the degree of recovery that is possible to achieve will vary.  However, we now tend to think of cognitive rehabilitation as taking place under three headings:-

  • Restitution - which aims to re-establish and strengthen neural pathways that were damaged by the brain injury
  • Reorganisation - by providing specific types of stimulation we can develop and strengthen new neural pathways
  • Compensation - which aims to provide strategies to compensate for when complete recovery is not possible. (eg - external memory aids)

Once upon a time, science did not think that restitution or reorganisation of brain neural networks could take place so a great deal of emphasis was placed on compensation approaches.  We now understand, both for physical and cognitive rehabilitation, that restitution is likely to be possible providing we provide stimulation that can be specific to what has been lost and provide this training with frequency and sufficient intensity.

Computer assisted cognitive rehabilitation 

 Brain training games may not help with cognition problems

Brain training games may not help with cognition problems

Computers are most effective when they are used as a tool. RehaCom can be described most simply as a tool for cognitive rehabilitation.  RehaCom was designed to be an ideal tool for application whether cognitive deficits are mild, moderate or severe.  This is partly because the software targets very specific cognitive functions and partly because the software automatically adjusts the challenge presented to the client so that it is neither boring nor intimidating.

In the past, therapists would try to use paper based methods but this approach is very labour intensive and cannot easily provide the intensity of training necessary for good results.  RehaCom's content goes far beyond what would be possible to emulate with paper-based methods.  Of course, in the past, therapists have also tried to use off the shelf games for cognitive rehabilitation when nothing else was available but this is unlikely to provide great results.

Conclusion

Brain training is not necessarily cognitive rehabilitation and computer games are not necessarily suited to cognitive rehabilitation either.  RehaCom was designed to be an ideal tool for the therapist to use as part of a cognitive rehabilitation programme.  It provides specific content that is suited to a very wide range of client abilities. The therapist can use RehaCom in the knowledge that it is research validated and effective.