Cognitive Training through mHealth for Individuals with Substance Use Disorder.

Research paper by Pedro P Gamito, Jorge J Oliveira, Paulo P Lopes, Rodrigo R Brito, Diogo D Morais, Cristina C Caçoete, André A Leandro, Teresa T Almeida, Hugo H Oliveira

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Methods of information in medicine


Heroin addiction has a negative impact on cognitive functions, and even recovering addicts suffer from cognitive impairment. Recent approaches to cognitive intervention have been taking advantage of what new technologies have to offer.We report a study testing the efficacy of a serious games approach using tablets to stimulate and rehabilitate cognitive functions in recovering addicts.A small-scale cognitive training program with serious games was run with a sample of 14 male heroin addicts undergoing a rehabilitation program.We found consistent improvements in cognitive functioning between baseline and follow-up assessments for frontal lobe functions, verbal memory and sustained attention, as well as in some aspects of cognitive flexibility, decision-making and in depression levels. More than two thirds of patients in cognitive training had positive outcomes related to indicators of verbal memory cognitive flexibility, which contrasts to patients not in training, in which only one patient improved between baseline and follow-up.The results are promising but still require randomized control trials to determine the efficiency of this approach to cognitive rehabilitation programs for the cognitive recovery of heroin addicts.