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Kessler Foundation Fellow Named to NIDRR-Sponsored ARRT Young Investigators Panel

2012-10-09 10:57:40 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Abhijit Das, MD, DM, of Kessler Foundation recognized for research on cognitive fatigue in multiple sclerosis

West Orange, NJ. October 9, 2012. Dr. Abhijit Das, a postdoctoral fellow in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation, has received recognition for his research in cognitive fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS).  Dr. Das is one of five young investigators recognized for contributions to rehabilitation research by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).  His fellowship is funded through NIDRR’s Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Program.

In conjunction with the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), NIDRR invited the fellows to share their research on the Young Investigators Panel at the joint ACRM-ASNR conference in Vancouver October 13. Dr. Das, who is also an instructor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), will discuss ‘Elucidating the Neurobiology of Self-reported Fatigue in MS: The Interplay of Networks”. 

Dr. Das’ primary area of research is cognitive fatigue, a condition characterized by “an overwhelming sense of tiredness or feeling of exhaustion that interferes with usual and desired activities.” Cognitive fatigue is common across a wide range of neurological disorders including MS, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. It is often severe enough to affect employment, and it leads to poorer quality of life. Fatigue remains poorly understood, according to Dr. Das, and after more than 100 years of research, there is still no proven effective therapy.  “My plan is to convert our knowledge about a “brain network” underlying fatigue to a treatment protocol using non-invasive brain stimulation," noted Dr Das. “I am also planning to extend research on the “fatigue network” to patient populations with Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury.”

Dr. Das was motivated to pursue a career in rehabilitation research during his neurology residency, where he witnessed the catastrophic effects of neurological disabilities–for the person, for the family, for society as a whole. Neurological disability is among the leading causes of disability-adjusted life years, an indicator of overall disease burden expressed as the number of years lost due to ill health, disability, or early death. “Now we have clear evidence that the brain has a high degree of ‘plasticity’ and can be ‘remodeled for recovery’ with appropriate therapy,” he said. “Therefore, neurorehabilitation research is an exciting place to be.”

Under the leadership of John DeLuca, PhD, and Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, Kessler Foundation has pioneered ways to objectively measure and understand the neurobiology of fatigue in MS and TBI. Dr. Das is mentored by Glenn Wylie, DPhil, assistant director for Neuroscience and Dr. Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation and principal investor for the ARRT grant in Neurocognitive Rehabilitation. Dr. DeLuca, noted expert in cognitive rehabilitation research, is VP of Research & Training at Kessler Foundation. Drs. Chiaravalloti and DeLuca are co-principal investigators of the NIDRR-funded Northern New Jersey TBI System at Kessler Foundation. Both have faculty appointments at UMDNJ-NJMS. 

About Kessler Foundation                                                            

Kessler Foundation is one of the largest public charities in the field of disability. Kessler Foundation Research Center 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 receives funding from NIDRR for model systems of care for spinal cord injury (Northern New Jersey SCI System) and traumatic brain injury (Northern New Jersey TBI System). Kessler Foundation Program Center fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people disabled by injury or disease. Targeted grantmaking 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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