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A.M. Barrett receives NIDRR grant to study prism adaptation therapy for spatial neglect

2012-10-24 10:23:24 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Three-year grant from National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research totals $595,756.

West Orange, NJ. October 24, 2012. A.M. Barrett, MD, of Kessler Foundation received a grant totaling $595,756 to study the effects of prism adaptation therapy for spatial neglect in survivors of right-sided stroke. The title of the 3-year grant from National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is ‘Impact of Prism Adaptation Therapy for Spatial Neglect on Home and Community Outcomes’ (H133G120203). Dr. Barrett, an expert in hidden disabilities such as spatial neglect, is director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation.

"At Kessler Foundation, we recognize that cognitive deficits are a major obstacle to rehabilitation of stroke survivors, as well as to those with brain injury and multiple sclerosis," said John DeLuca, PhD, vice president for Research and Training. "By focusing attention on the cognitive effects of stroke that often go undetected and untreated, Dr. Barrett's research will improve rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with hidden disabilities."   

Kessler Foundation is a leader in establishing new clinical practice guidelines to reliably identify and treat hidden disabilities after stroke. Following right hemispheric stroke, 30-70% of survivors cannot reliably report or respond to external events that take place in the contralesional space. Called spatial neglect, this disorder often overlooked as an underlying factor in accidents, falls, safety problems and functional disability that prolongs recovery and increases costs for rehabilitation.  Kessler Foundation’s research team proposes methods of classifying stroke survivors to predict their response to treatment. “This study will test whether our discovery that spatial-motor function predicts better right stroke recovery is therapy-specific, or is a general principle of right stroke resolution,” explained Dr. Barrett. 

Researchers will administer prism adaptation therapy for 2 weeks in the inpatient setting, and will measure functional changes as well as home and community outcomes 3 and 6 months later. Short-term goals are to establish clinical guidelines, to increase the rate of detection and improve management and treatment of spatial neglect.  Launch of a multi-site clinical trial of prism therapy is planned for the next stage of research. The long-term objective is to reduce falls, accidents and other morbidity associated with spatial neglect and optimize independence and engagement in the home and community for stroke survivors.

About A.M. Barrett, MD

A.M. Barrett, MD, a cognitive neurologist and clinical researcher, is director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, as well as chief of Neurorehabilitation Program Innovation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Her focus is brain-behavior relationships from the perspectives of cognitive neurology, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive neurorehabilitation. Dr. Barrett is an expert in hidden cognitive disabilities after stroke, which contribute to safety problems & rehospitalization, increased caregiver burden, & poor hospital-to-home transition.  She is a founder of the Network for Spatial Neglect, which promotes multidisciplinary research for this underdiagnosed hidden disability. Dr. Barrett is also professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School and adjunct professor of neurology at Columbia University School of Medicine. She is the current president of the American Society for Neurorehabilitation.

Dr. Barrett is author of the reference article Spatial Neglect on                                                                A recent publication is Barrett AM, Goedert KM, Basso JC. Prism adaptation for spatial neglect after stroke: translational practice gaps. Nat Rev Neurol. 2012 Aug 28;8(10):567-77. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2012.170.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation is one of the largest public charities in the field of disability. Kessler Foundation Research Center advances care through rehabilitation research in six specialized laboratories under the leadership of noted research directors. Research focuses on improving function and quality of life for persons with injuries of the spinal cord and brain, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic neurological conditions. Kessler Foundation Program Center fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people disabled by injury or disease. Targeted grant-making funds promising programs across the nation. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, people recovering from catastrophic injuries and stroke, and young adults striving for independence are among the thousands of people finding jobs and training for careers as a result of the commitment of Kessler Foundation.

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Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:17