Novel insights into the rehabilatation of memory post acquired brain injury: a systematic review

Lauriane A. Spreij, Johanna M. A. Visser-Meily, Caroline M. van Heugten, Tanja C. W. Nijboer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) frequently results in memory impairment causing significant disabilities in daily life and is therefore a critical target for cognitive rehabilitation. Current understanding of brain plasticity has led to novel insights in remediation-oriented approaches for the rehabilitation of memory deficits. We will describe 3 of these approaches that have emerged in the last decade: Virtual Reality (VR) training, Computer-Based Cognitive Retraining (CBCR) and Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NBS) and evaluate its effectiveness. Methods: A systematic literature search was completed in regard to studies evaluating interventions aiming to improve the memory function after ABI. Information concerning study content and reported effectiveness were extracted. Quality of the studies and methods were evaluated. Results: A total of 786 studies were identified, 15 studies met the inclusion criteria. Three of those studies represent the VR technique, 7 studies represent CBCR and 5 studies NBS. All 3 studies found a significant improvement of the memory function after VR-based training, however these studies are considered preliminary. All 7 studies have shown that CBCR can be effective in improving memory function in patients suffering from ABI. Four studies of the 5 did not find significant improvement of the memory function after the use of NBS in ABI patients. Conclusion: On the basis of this review, CBCR is considered the most promising novel approach of the last decade because of the positive results in improving memory function post ABI. The number of studies representing VR were limited and the methodological quality low, therefore the results should be considered preliminary. The studies representing NBS did not detect evidence for the use of NBS in improving memory function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number993
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2014


  • acquired brain injury
  • memory
  • remediation-oriented technique
  • virtual reality
  • computer-based cognitive retraining
  • non-invasive brain stimulation


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