Post-stroke working memory dysfunction: A meta-analysis and systematic review
Number of pages
SourceNeuropsychology Review, 31, 1, (2021), pp. 202-219
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Radboudumc 1: Alzheimer`s disease DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
This review investigates the severity and nature of post-stroke working memory deficits with reference to the multi-component model of working memory. We conducted a systematic search in PubMed up to March 2019 with search terms for stroke and memory. Studies on adult stroke patients, that included a control group, and assessed working memory function, were selected. Effect sizes (Hedges' g) were extracted from 50 studies (in total 3,084 stroke patients) based on the sample size, mean and standard deviation of patients and controls. Performance of stroke patients was compared to healthy controls on low-load (i.e. capacity) and high-load (executively demanding) working memory tasks, grouped by modality (verbal, non-verbal). A separate analysis compared patients in the sub-acute and the chronic stage. Longitudinal studies and effects of lesion location were systematically reviewed. Stroke patients demonstrated significant deficits in working memory with a moderate effect size for both low-load (Hedges' g = -.58 [-.82 to -.43]) and high-load (Hedges' g = -.59 [-.73 to -.45]) tasks. The effect sizes were comparable for verbal and non-verbal material. Systematically reviewing the literature showed that working memory deficits remain prominent in the chronic stage of stroke. Lesions in a widespread fronto-parietal network are associated with working memory deficits. Stroke patients show decrements of moderate magnitude in all subsystems of working memory. This review clearly demonstrates the global nature of the impairment in working memory post-stroke.
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