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Training Program Can Improve Attention in Stroke Survivors

Attention process training linked to greater improvement on test versus standard care

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Attention process training appears useful in improving attention deficits in individuals who have had a stroke, according to research published online July 23 in Stroke.

Suzanne L. Barker-Collo, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues analyzed data from 78 stroke survivors with attention deficit who were randomized to receive standard care with or without up to 30 hours of attention process training (APT). Participants were approached within two weeks of having the stroke. Researchers assessed subjects' attention at five weeks and six months using the Integrated Visual Auditory Continuous Performance Test Full-Scale Attention Quotient.

The researchers found that the APT group had significantly greater improvement on this test than the standard care group, though they didn't show significant differences for other measures of attention or broader outcomes.

"In conclusion, early identification and rehabilitation of attention should be part of post-stroke rehabilitation. Although the results are encouraging, further studies are required with larger samples and longer follow-up to identify characteristics of those most likely to benefit from APT and to ascertain the optimal delay before treatment. However, the positive findings for attention in this trial demonstrate that APT is a valuable intervention for patients with attention deficit after stroke," the authors write.

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