Working memory is the ability to keep information “online” in your mind for brief periods of time. It is central to concentration, problem solving, and impulse control. Working memory is closely correlated to fluid intelligence. It is also fundamental to academic and professional success. Challenges like reading comprehension and math problem solving depend on working memory capacity.
The signs of poor working memory will differ depending on age and the challenges faced. Indicators include difficulty remembering long instructions; hard time staying focused on schoolwork; problems with mental arithmetic; easily distracted; trouble with being able to follow an orally presented story.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based training program for improved attention. It is a computer-based training normally done at home, using a PC. The training protocol is 25 sessions of 30-45 minutes each, done over a period of 5 weeks.
It is always provided with the support of a Cogmed coach. It includes an initial interview, a start-up meeting, weekly coach calls, a wrap-up meeting, and a six months follow-up. Throughout the training period, the user can track his/her progress online using the Cogmed Training Web tool. After the intense five weeks of training follows the Cogmed Extension Training, an additional 100 sessions over 12 months.
Cogmed training is for people who need to improve their ability to concentrate. Cogmed users range from young children to adolescents to adults to senior adults. Some have diagnosed attention deficits, some have suffered a brain injury, others feel the effects of aging. And others find they’re not doing as well as they could, academically or professionally, given their intelligence and their efforts.
Better attention, better impulse control, and better complex reasoning. For children, parents and teachers also report improved social skills, taking initiative, remembering instructions, and completing assignments independently. The key objective is better academic performance, particularly in math and reading comprehension.
For adults, the effects are being able to stay focused, planning your activities, starting and finishing tasks, and following and contributing to complex discussions. The key objective is improved professional performance and attentional stamina.
No. You can do the entire Cogmed training program out of the convenience of your home. The initial interview, start-up meeting, and weekly coach calls can all be done over the phone.
Yes, the effects do last. Our research and our clinical experience show that the effects of Cogmed training last. The reason is that once your working memory has been improved, you will use it more than before. And the use will serve as constant training.
You do not have to take our word for it. Included in the Cogmed training is the 12-month-long Cogmed Extension Training that allows you to check and train your working memory over 100 sessions. That way you can make sure your gains are maintained or do more training to increase further.
Three key things make Cogmed stand out:
In short: research, coaching, and results. Obviously, the results are what really matter.
Cogmed’s products have been used and shown effective in several research studies. Crucially, the studies apply the golden standard of clinical research: double-blind placebo-controlled designs.
Some of the studies have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals. Others are on their way there, now presented as posters at research conferences. The work has been done by Cogmed’s founders and by independent teams at leading American and European universities such as Notre Dame, NYU, Harvard, York, and Stanford.
No other brain training product or attention training method can show this degree of research validation. Cogmed represents a new level of scientific rigor in brain training and a research breakthrough.
Cogmed was founded by neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, back in 2001. The company is primarily owned by the Karolinska Development AB, a fund investing long-term in making cutting-edge research into businesses that make a real difference. We have worked in the US and Canada since early 2006, from our office in Naperville, Illinois.
Cogmed is for everyone held back by poor working memory. Most people with ADHD have poor working memory. The first research from Cogmed was on children with ADHD and many of our users have ADHD. But many of our users do not have serious attention deficits. We now have research showing good results in adults without any impairments.
No, it is not. In the case of users on ADHD medication, Cogmed training is a complementary intervention. Stimulant medication and Cogmed training impact the brain in different ways. Medications will have effects Cogmed training does not, particularly regarding hyperactivity.
Cogmed training will also, in many cases, have effects that cannot be achieved by medication only. Talk to you doctor or a Cogmed practice to learn more about the situation in your particular case.
No, there is always a Cogmed coach involved in a training. The reason is that with the coach working closely with the user, the Cogmed practice and Cogmed can be sure the training will be done effectively. We want the best possible results for our users.
In our research and in the practical experience of the Cogmed practices, 80% of the users see measurable improvements. That does not mean you can be sure to get results. No intervention works for everyone. 80% is a number we are proud of, but we cannot leave guarantees in any particular case.
No, normally not. However, it may be possible to purchase Cogmed with your HSA account. Check with your HSA account provider.
You need a computer running Windows XP or Vista.
In the US and Canada, about 2,000 people. All together, including research users and users in Europe and Japan, about 5,000 people.
EEG Neurofeedback has been around for over 30 years, although it has gained attention mostly in the past few years. It has been used for a variety of conditions which appear to be associated with irregular brain activity including attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity and specific learning disabilities. The procedure has also shown promise with certain behavioral disorders, sleep problems, depression, migraines, anxiety, chronic pain, minor head injury, and seizure disorders.
In our experience and in the reported studies, most individuals benefit to a greater or lesser extent from this procedure. Nonetheless, no representation is made that any individual client will improve or become “cured” by the training.
Our work and studies in the literature suggest that the positive effects of neurofeedback are lasting. Nonetheless, clients have, on occasion, sought a few booster sessions which appear to be helpful usually long after the initial treatment regimen. Clients who have head injuries or toxic exposures to chemicals or extreme stress after treatment can appear to lose some of the benefit. It is unclear whether this reflected the undoing of earlier training or was the result of new damage.
With regard to risk or harm, there is no evidence, either from my experience or from the literature, that the treatment is harmful or that it creates or has negative side effects. It is non-invasive and painless. Any side effects seem to be in terms of unanticipated improvement with other problems that were not the focus of treatment. Some clients have reported that training seemed to cause temporary worsening in some symptoms including feeling more anxious, more distractible, or more tired. These changes were not serious and usually resolve on their own or can be corrected by shifting the brain wave target range and electrode locations. Typically, these problems resolve quickly. Therefore, it is very important that you keep us informed of any changes or negative effects, even if they seem unconnected to the neurofeedback, so that training can be modified.
You should also be aware of the relationship between neurofeedback and medications. Obviously, many people undergo neurofeedback with the goal of reducing or eliminating the need for medications. However, do not alter your medications without consulting your physician. Also be aware that neurofeedback could affect your body response to other medications you are taking for conditions unrelated to the ones for which you are undergoing neurofeedback. Should new symptoms appear to be developing, it is your responsibility to keep us informed as well as your physician.
After you have read this website, you can schedule an initial consultation. This is a 50-minute session where you will have a chance to ask any remaining questions you may have. It will also be determined during this session if you are a candidate for neurofeedback or if other treatments need to be considered instead of or along with neurofeedback.
Usually, the case is that these are not licensed professionals and some may be operating illegally without the full level of education, training, and experience.
Also, the EEG field is growing exponentially and many newcomers have little experience and so they offer a discounted price. We recommend you ask any provider you are considering working with the following questions:
1. What type of License do you have that qualifies you to work with my condition? If you do not have a license, is there someone on the premises at all times supervising you who does? Is this person fully trained and experienced in QEEG Assessments, neurofeedback training or Cogmed Working Memory Training?
2. How long have you been providing this service?
3. How many clients have you seen in your career? In a typical day or week?
4. What type of conditions do you typically work with?
5. Do you utilize a wide range of equipment and protocols to offer an individualized approach or do you offer a one-size-fits all approach with only one or two types of interventions?
6. Do you keep up with the latest developments in the field by receiving regular training and professional development in a variety of interventions and approaches? Are these trainings accredited and if so, by what accreditation body? (preferably, these events should be accredited by one’s professional association such as The American Psychological Association and/or by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance).