Everts, Regula; Wapp, Manuela; Ritter, Barbara; Perrig, Walter; Steinlin, Maja (2015). Effects of two different memory training approaches in very pretermborn children. Advances in Pediatric Research Longdom
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Background: Little research has been conducted to assess the effect of using memory training with school aged children who were born very preterm. This study aimed to determine whether two types of memory training approaches resulted in an improvement of trained functions and/or a generalization of the training effect to non-trained cognitive domains. Methods: Sixty-eight children born very preterm (7-12 years) were randomly allocated to a group undertaking memory strategy training (n=23), working memory training (n=22), or a waiting control group (n=23). Neuropsychological assessment was performed before and immediately after the training or waiting period, and at a six-month follow-up. Results: In both training groups, significant improvement of different memory domains occurred immediately after training (near transfer). Improvement of non-trained arithmetic performance was observed after strategy training (far transfer). At a six-month follow-up assessment, children in both training groups demonstrated better working memory, and their parents rated their memory functions to be better than controls. Performance level before the training was negatively associated with the training gain. Conclusions: These results highlight the importance of cognitive interventions, in particular the teaching of memory strategies, in very preterm-born children at early school age to strengthen cognitive performance and prevent problems at school.