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Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2000 Sep 30;2(3):77-87.

The rehabilitation of executive functions in patients with closed-head injuries.

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Oddział Rehabilitacji Medycznej, Krakowskie Centrum Rehabilitacji, Kraków.


One of the most difficult problems in the rehabilitation of patients with closed-head injuries is posed by executive function disturbances, that is, difficulty in making the transition from thinking to acting. This article presents the working hypotheses and a description of a rehabilitation program developed by the authors, oriented directly towards training executive functions, in contract to the existing standard program, based on physical therapy with the addition of neuropsychological exercises directed towards training particular cognitive functions. The program consists of exercises supporting the development of not only cognitive and emotional-motivational elements, but also mediating metaprocesses and behavioral processes. In their own research involving 24 patients the authors confirmed the existence of objective disturbances of executive functioning in all subjects. The patients were divided into two groups: a control group of 12 patients treated with the standard program, and an experimental group of 12 patients who received the new rehabilitation program. The results obtained clearly indicate the superior effectiveness of the new program, not only in terms of executive functions per se, but also in transfer to other neurosychological parameters not treated separately. The authors discuss the etiology of executive function disturbances and the significance of the results obtained for rehabilitation. The authors' Clinical Test of Executive Functions is also presented.


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