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Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2006 Dec;16(6):653-65.

Cognitive remediation in ADHD: effects of periodic non-contingent alerts on sustained attention to response.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


Few studies have attempted direct cognitive remediation of attention deficits in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The present study investigated the efficacy of periodic non-informative alerting cues for improving sustaining attention in ADHD. This technique is known to improve sustained attention in right frontal injury patients and may be effective in ADHD, given that this disorder has also been linked with right frontal dysfunction. Fifteen children with ADHD and 15 matched controls completed four blocks of a modified version of the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART). Eight random non-contingent alerts were introduced on two of these blocks as a cue for participants to adopt a more supervisory stance to their performance. While the alerting cues did not alter the total number of commission errors committed by ADHD children over a task block, they did produce a significant short-term reduction in commission errors in the period immediately following an alerting cue. Our data demonstrate that sustained attention performance can be enhanced in children with ADHD using a simple cognitive training strategy. Methods from the field of cognitive rehabilitation may be viably applied to the remediation of attention deficits in ADHD.

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