Shawn Marshall MD MSc, Laura Rees PhD, Margaret Weiser PhD, Jo-Anne Aubut BA, Gabrielle Willems MSc, Robert Teasell MD
Evaluating the efficacy of remediation or rehabilitation of attention deficits following a brain injury is complicated by a number of factors. First, there is no consensus regarding a definition of attention. Is it a general construct or does it reflect more specific sub-components or systems of functioning (e.g., sustained, divided, focused, selective, vigilance, speed of information processing, etc). Second, different researchers and clinicians will report using the same or similar tests to measure different aspects of attention. Third, a study may use the same outcome measures repeatedly, thereby confounding practice and treatment effects (e.g., PASAT performance improves significantly with repeated exposure to the test). Finally, studies may not consider and account for the rate of spontaneous recovery following brain injury (i.e. would participants naturally show recovery of function in the absence of treatment?).
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