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Kessler Foundation Awarded Stroke Research Grant by Wallerstein Foundation

$250,00 Grant Will Further Research in Hidden Disabilities

West Orange, NJ . November 11, 2011. Kessler Foundation received a $250,000 stroke research grant from the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement. Anna Barrett, MD, director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, will apply the funds to finding better ways to treat hidden disabilities that often complicate recovery after stroke.  “Our stroke researchers are pleased to receive this grant,” said Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation. “The Wallerstein Foundation recognizes the Kessler Foundation’s commitment to improving rehabilitation after stroke, and has seen the advances being made by Dr. Barrett’s research team.”

Paralysis and weakness are well recognized, noted Dr. Barrett, unlike hidden disabilities, which affect communication, memory, functional vision and perception of one’s environment. Even people with mild strokes can have hidden disabilities that are highly disabling, causing problems with many functions including self care, driving, reading and navigating one’s surroundings.  Often overlooked, these disabilities prolong hospitalizations and rehabilitation and increase the risk for injury and other complications.  

The grant is especially welcome in these days of increasing competitiveness for grant funding.  “Because of the challenges we face with federal grant funding,” said Barrett, “this generous gift from the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Improvement is most significant. This enables us to continue our investigation of promising treatments for hidden disabilities.” 

One such therapy is prism adaptation therapy, which uses optical lenses to help correct a hidden disability called spatial neglect. Investigators at Kessler Foundation’s Stroke Research Laboratory are studying which stroke survivors may be most likely to benefit from prism adaptation. “Effective treatments will increase independence, decrease falls and accidents, and reduce the burdens on stroke survivors and their loved ones in the future,” said Barrett.

Anna Barrett, MD, is also a professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ and Chief, Neurorehabilitation Program Innovation, Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation, West Orange, NJ.

About Kessler Foundation.  Kessler Foundation is the largest public charity 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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 Carolann Murphy, PA                                                                     Lauren Scrivo

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Submitted by lscrivo on Fri, 11/11/2011 - 13:58