‘Brain Fitness Program’ May Benefit ADHD, Concussion, and Memory Loss

A 12-week multimodal “brain fitness program” promoted neuroplasticity and improved brain function in individuals with ADHD, concussion, and memory loss.

A 12-week multimodal “brain fitness program” may improve symptoms and cognitive test scores for patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), postconcussion syndrome (PCS), and memory loss, according to study findings published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports.

Researchers in the United States conducted a clinical research study, analyzing data from 223 pediatric and adult patients aged 7 to 80 who presented to NeuroGrow Brain Fitness center, an outpatient, Virginia-based neurology practice, for brain rehabilitation treatment between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019.

The researchers assessed the benefits of the nonpharmacologic brain rehabilitation treatment for 3 subgroups of patients — each with different neurologic diagnoses, including ADHD (71 patients), PCS (88 patients), and mild memory loss (64 patients).

They gathered objective clinical data for each patient via quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) testing to assess brain oscillation patterns and a comprehensive neurocognitive evaluation. The neurocognitive examination consisted of a battery of tests for verbal memory, complex attention, processing speed, executive functioning, and neurocognition index. If needed, the patient underwent blood tests to assess the levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, thyroid hormones, and iron.

Each patient also completed questionnaires providing subjective details about their sleep, mood, anxiety, depression, diet, and physical activity levels. These tests were performed at baseline and after completion of the 12-week brain training program.

The NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Program consisted of 45-minute brain training sessions conducted twice a week for 12 weeks. These sessions incorporated lifestyle coaching, cognitive training, and EEG-based neurofeedback, according to each patient’s unique needs.

[M]ultimodal interventions, which are known to increase neuroplasticity in the brain, when personalized, can have benefits for patients with cognitive symptoms from a variety of neurological conditions.

Computer-based or hands-on games poses challenges to attention, memory, executive function, or processing speed. Patients with memory loss received targeted brain training to memorize a list of 100 words.

The brain coaches encouraged healthy lifestyle changes that focused on improving sleep quality (which may include sleep studies to assess for obstructive sleep apnea), increasing physical activity levels, following a Mediterranean diet, and lowering stress levels.

Comparing baseline measurements to posttreatment measurements, all 3 patient subgroups demonstrated significant improvements, particularly patients with PCS who demonstrated improved scores on all measures tested (P <.0011). Between 60% and 90% of patients subjectively reported decreased emotional and cognitive symptoms and performed better on objective cognitive tests. Executive functioning scores changed the most after brain training for all 3 subgroups.

“We found that patients who completed the NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Program…experienced significant improvement in their symptoms and objective neurocognitive test scores,” the researchers wrote. “[M]ultimodal interventions, which are known to increase neuroplasticity in the brain, when personalized, can have benefits for patients with cognitive symptoms from a variety of neurological conditions,” they concluded.

Study limitations included the lack of a control group, lack of consistency in the brain games used for different patients in each group since the interventions were customized to meet each person’s needs, and the wide range of patient ages. They took measures to account for the effect of age on test results and used only adult scores for analysis of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and Pittsburgh Insomnia Rating Scale (PIRS20) outcome measures.


Fotuhi M, Khorrami ND, Raji CA. Benefits of a 12-week non-drug “Brain Fitness Program” for patients with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, post-concussion syndrome, or memory loss. J Alzheimers Dis Rep. Published online June 29, 2023. doi:10.3233/ADR-220091