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NJ brain injury researchers find retrieval practice improves memory in youth with TBI

Researchers from Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized Hospital find method can improve learning and memory in this age group with TBI

Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. December 3, 2014. Brain injury researchers in New Jersey have identified retrieval practice as a useful strategy for improving memory among children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI). "Retrieval Practice as an Effective Memory Strategy in Children and Adolescents with TBI" (DOI: was published online ahead of print on October 10 by the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. This article is based on a collaborative study funded by Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized Hospital. The authors are Julia H. Coyne, PhD, and James Sumowski, PhD, of Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized Hospital; Jacquelyn M. Borg, PhD, and Leslie Glass, LCSW, of Children's Specialized Hospital and John DeLuca, PhD, senior VP of Research & Training at Kessler Foundation.

Difficulties with memory and learning are common after TBI in childhood. To improve academic achievement and long-term outcomes such as employment, effective neurorehabilitative strategies need to be identified. The researchers studied 15 patients with TBI and impaired memory, aged 8 to 16 years. They compared results of three memory strategies: massed restudy (cramming), spaced restudy (restudying of material at timed intervals), and retrieval practice (quizzing during the learning stage). Participants were tested on verbal-paired associates and face-name pairs.

"We found that retrieval practice resulted in better recall," said Dr. Coyne. "Overall, retrieval practice was the best learning strategy for each of the participants, indicating that this method can improve learning and memory in this age group with TBI. There's a need for randomized controlled trials to confirm this finding, and look at the impact of retrieval practice on academic achievement."

Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized Hospital agreed to partner in pediatric rehabilitation research in May 2014.


About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit; Facebook:; Twitter:; YouTube:

About Children's Specialized Hospital

Children's Specialized Hospital is the nation's leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges -- from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At thirteen different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and children can achieve more of their goals. To help, or find more information: call 888-CHILDRENS; visit; Facebook:; Twitter:; YouTube:; LinkedIn:'s-specialized-hospital


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