Brief Overview and Assessment of the Role and Benefits of Cognitive Rehabilitation

Published:March 07, 2015DOI:


      Cognition is one of our most important attributes. Arresting its decline, whether in association with normal aging or a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, acquired brain injury, or dementia, concerns everyone, regardless of whether their role is that of spouse, child, or clinician. This article provides a brief, and by necessity, somewhat superficial appraisal of the status of our knowledge of the benefits of cognitive rehabilitation in these conditions and the authors' assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. In summary, there is support for the belief that participation in exercise as well as socially and cognitively stimulating activities (whether or not rehabilitative in nature) is beneficial for all but perhaps those with the most severe dementia. Focused efforts at cognitive training/rehabilitation also appear potentially helpful but are best established for those with acquired brain injury. There are, however, caveats to this assessment. For example, cognitive retraining is resource and time intensive while, even for those most likely to benefit, its impact on their daily activities and quality of life remains unclear. In addition, responses to training may vary from person to person and are likely to be influenced by factors such as an individual's acceptance of the need for assistance. Future research may benefit from continued efforts to treat the patient holistically, fit the treatment to those most likely to benefit, and encouraging the translation of training effects to functioning in the real world.


      List of abbreviations:

      ABI (acquired brain injury), MCI (mild cognitive impairment)
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