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Preventing intrusive memories after trauma via a brief intervention involving Tetris computer game play in the emergency department: a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial
Univ Oxford, Dept Psychiat, Oxford, England.
MRC, Cognit & Brain Sci Unit, Cambridge, England;Ruhr Univ Bochum, Dept Clin Psychol & Psychotherapy, Bochum, Germany.
Univ East Anglia, Dept Clin Psychol, Norwich, Norfolk, England.
MRC, Cognit & Brain Sci Unit, Cambridge, England.
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2018 (English)In: Molecular Psychiatry, ISSN 1359-4184, E-ISSN 1476-5578, Vol. 23, no 3, p. 674-682Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

After psychological trauma, recurrent intrusive visual memories may be distressing and disruptive. Preventive interventions post trauma are lacking. Here we test a behavioural intervention after real-life trauma derived from cognitive neuroscience. We hypothesized that intrusive memories would be significantly reduced in number by an intervention involving a computer game with high visuospatial demands (Tetris), via disrupting consolidation of sensory elements of trauma memory. The Tetris-based intervention (trauma memory reminder cue plus c. 20 min game play) vs attention-placebo control (written activity log for same duration) were both delivered in an emergency department within 6 h of a motor vehicle accident. The randomized controlled trial compared the impact on the number of intrusive trauma memories in the subsequent week (primary outcome). Results vindicated the efficacy of the Tetris-based intervention compared with the control condition: there were fewer intrusive memories overall, and time-series analyses showed that intrusion incidence declined more quickly. There were convergent findings on a measure of clinical post-trauma intrusion symptoms at 1 week, but not on other symptom clusters or at 1 month. Results of this proof-of-concept study suggest that a larger trial, powered to detect differences at 1 month, is warranted. Participants found the intervention easy, helpful and minimally distressing. By translating emerging neuroscientific insights and experimental research into the real world, we offer a promising new low-intensity psychiatric intervention that could prevent debilitating intrusive memories following trauma.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2018. Vol. 23, no 3, p. 674-682
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Psychiatry
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-405282DOI: 10.1038/mp.2017.23ISI: 000425588100023PubMedID: 28348380OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-405282DiVA, id: diva2:1401970
Available from: 2020-02-28 Created: 2020-02-28 Last updated: 2020-03-17

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