Commonly, people who suffer attention deficits following brain injury due to trauma or stroke are treated using cognitive exercises designed to directly restore impaired attention processes.

But Norman Park (Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto) and Janet Ingles (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia) found that an alternative and lesser-used therapy may be more effective. They compared two different approaches to treatment. "One is restoration-training-based approach, which assumes you can restore neural function; the other is a skills-based approach, which assumes you can teach people compensatory strategies which enable them to function", said Park.

Park and Ingles carried out a meta-analysis of 30 studies involving 359 patients with attention deficits due to brain injuries. "The direct retraining methods used in the review studies produced only small statistically nonsignificant improvements in performance, whereas the few studies that attempted to rehabilitate specific skills requiring attention showed statistically significant improvements after...

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