Interventions for attentional disruption in pain cognition-general, mechanism-specific, or exercise-based?

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Comments on an article by K. S. Baker et al. (see record 2018-43767-005). Baker et al. report that a computerized cognitive training program was able to improve chronic pain patients’ performance on a neurocognitive assessment composite. How should one go about developing interventions to improve attention in people with pain? One way is to use commercially available computerized cognitive training programs, as done by Baker et al. Such intervention programs are usually targeted at older adults to prevent cognitive decline, and operate under the premise that practice on tasks that load heavily on core cognitive domains leads to improvements on other everyday tasks that rely on these domains. This concept is often compared with how exercise improves physical fitness. Baker et al. have shown that there is potential for improving cognition in people with chronic pain, which gives hope that as one develops and refine interventions, they will be able to substantially improve the everyday lives of patients. However, one needs to fully understand the mechanisms of the effect of pain on attention before we one develop interventions that will be as effective, time-effective, and cost-effective as one would like.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-622
Number of pages2
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Attention
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cognition
  • Exercise/psychology
  • Humans


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