July 27, 2009

Stroke Survivors Relearning to Focus

 Impaired attention is one of the most significant repercussions for stroke victims, reducing their ability to focus on tasks. A therapy called Attention Process Training (APT) may aid survivors in their rehabilitation process.

Almost 80 stroke survivors were randomized to receive APT treatment in the clinical trial. Participants completed tasks designed to work on four different aspects of attention -- sustained, selective, divided and alternating. Patients received APT training in one-hour sessions for four weeks. The patients who had APT scored significantly higher on attention tests than those without the training. Experts agree more long-term research is needed on the therapy.

As many as 92 percent of stroke survivors report suffering from impaired attention. APT is designed to help patients improve their attention span and the ability to shift attention from one task to another. It has been successful in the rehabilitation for traumatic brain injuries, but has not previously been tested on stroke survivors.


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