Public Release: 

Dr. Kucukboyaci receives grant to study cognitive therapies for traumatic brain injury

With a grant from New Jersey Health Foundation, Erkut Kucukboyaci, PhD, of Kessler Foundation will conduct a pilot study to assess the efficacy of combined, non-invasive cognitive rehabilitation therapies for traumatic brain injury

Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ - February 13, 2018 - N. Erkut Kucukboyaci, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, has been awarded $35,000 from New Jersey Health Foundation to study ways to improve new learning and memory in individuals with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This one-year award funds a pilot study assessing the efficacy of the combined cognitive rehabilitation therapies: training in the application of memory strategies to facilitate new learning abilities, developed at Kessler Foundation, and the RehaCom, a self-adaptive, computerized cognitive therapy tool that has been shown to improve cognitive deficits in individuals with neurological compromise.

"Memory and learning problems are very common in people with moderate to severe TBI," explained Dr. Kucukboyaci. "Through this NJ Health Foundation grant, we will be able to advance our preliminary research and directly address the need for Class I research in software-assisted cognitive rehabilitation. "Our goal is to improve patient care for this population," he continued, "by devising and teaching TBI-tailored memory strategies that can boost work or school functioning, and monitoring cognitive changes over time."

Researchers plan to enroll 20 participants with moderate-to-severe TBI. The project, titled "RCT of RehaCom Memory Modules in Moderate-to-Severe TBI," will examine participants' attention, processing speed, verbal and non-verbal NLM, and executive control pre/post interventions. In addition, functional and emotional outcomes will be tracked via self-report questionnaires, assessing mood and anxiety, perceived everyday cognition, quality of life, community participation, self-efficacy, awareness of deficits, and occupational functioning.

"The cognitive sequelae of TBI, especially memory problems, contribute to disability in this population," said Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & TBI Research, "and add to the burden of their caregivers. This study will enable us to pursue new approaches to treating these deficits and alleviating their impact on individuals and families."

For more information, or to enroll in a study, please contact our Research Recruitment Specialist: researchstudies@kesslerfoundation.org.

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About Cognitive Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation

Over the past two decades, Kessler Foundation's cognitive research has grown in depth and scope. Advances have expanded the knowledge of cognitive deficits that are major contributors to disability. The unique neuroimaging capabilities of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center provide objective evidence of brain activity patterns that has accelerated the pace of discovery. Under the leadership of director Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, developments in neurocognitive rehabilitation are improving care for persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S. and abroad, and research is extending to new populations, including spinal cord injury and the elderly. Dr. Chiaravalloti also heads the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System (NNJTBIS), one of only 16 centers in the federally funded TBI Model System (TBIMS), a national network of care and research that begins with acute care and extends through the lifecycle. NNJTBIS is a collaborative project with Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and five local trauma centers. Through NNJTBIS, scientists conduct research that benefits the TBI community, contribute research data to the national TBIMS database, translate findings into clinical care, and provide resources for individuals with TBI and their caregivers.

TBI research activities and postdoctoral training are funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR); Department of Veterans Affairs; Department of Defense, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Kessler Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the New Jersey Commission for Brain Injury Research and the New Jersey Commission for Spinal Cord Injury Research.

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. Learn more by visiting http://www.KesslerFoundation.org.

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Contacts

Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Laura Viglione, MS; 973-323-3675; LViglione@KesslerFoundation.org

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