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Emotional Working Memory Training for Veterans With PTSD Symptoms

2016-05-09 23:53:21 | BioPortfolio

Summary

PTSD is characterized by recurrent intrusion of trauma-related memories and images that cause significant distress and impairment to the affected individuals. The current project aims to examine whether computerized emotional working memory training (eWMT) can help improve working memory capabilities and reduce trauma-related emotional symptoms among individuals with elevated trauma-related symptoms. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of the two computerized training programs. At baseline, post-training, and 1-month follow-up, participants will be assessed with respect to their emotional symptoms and working memory-related cognitive performance. Pending successful outcomes, this study will provide important knowledge that will guide the future efforts to develop an effective, accessible, and cost-efficient intervention program.

Description

PTSD is characterized by recurrent intrusion of trauma-related memories and images that cause significant distress and impairment to the affected individuals. The long-term objective is to develop an effective cognitive treatment program that can reduce such intrusive cognitions observed among individuals who have been exposed to a significant trauma. The specific objective is to examine whether computerized emotional working memory training (eWMT) can help improve working memory capabilities and reduce trauma-related emotional symptoms among individuals with elevated trauma-related symptoms. eWMT is designed to improve the individual's ability to stay focused on the target and filter out irrelevant information from their working memory, which is expected to improve trauma-related emotional symptoms via the improvement of working memory functioning.

Individuals who display elevated trauma symptoms will be randomly assigned to one of two eWMT conditions: (a) adjustable n-back training (i.e., potent working memory training program), and (b) fixed 1-back training (i.e., training that delivers a limited dose). Participants will be blinded to ensure objective assessment of the intervention effects. Before and after the eWMT intervention, all participants will undergo an assessment session that aims to assess each individual's emotional symptoms and working memory-related cognitive performance. Further, following completion of procedure, participants will be invited for a follow-up assessment to assess the long-term effect of training.

The eWMT intervention will be delivered via Internet. Thus, the current intervention is a home-based Internet intervention, which provides an important context for testing and developing a cost-efficient, accessible, and effective intervention program for many individuals suffering from exposure to traumas. Each training session will take about 20 minutes, and all participants in both conditions will receive a total of 15 training sessions. Participants will be guided to complete an average of 3 training sessions every week for a total duration of approximately 5 weeks.

Investigators hypothesize that individuals who undergo the active eWMT will display a greater improvement in overall working memory performance and a greater reduction in trauma-related symptoms, compared to individuals who undergo the less effective control training program. Pending successful outcomes, this study will provide important knowledge that will guide the future efforts to develop an effective, accessible, and cost-efficient intervention program that can reach out to many individuals who suffer from exposure to traumas.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Conditions

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Intervention

Active Emotional Working Memory Training, Control Working Memory Training

Status

Not yet recruiting

Source

Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Results (where available)

View Results

Links

Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-05-09T23:53:21-0400

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