Center for Traumatic Brain Injury

Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, TBI researcher pictured with black background and brain scan displayed

Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Maximizing Independence After Traumatic Brain Injury

After traumatic brain injury (TBI), life changes forever for individuals and families. Through research, we develop new ways to help individuals recover cognitive function and mobility, and equip families and caregivers with the long-term support they need to adjust to living with brain injury. 

Leadership

Laboratories

Graphic for 2019 TBI Conference

One-day conference (September 27) for individuals with brain injury, their caregivers, family and friends, and healthcare professionals. Learn to successfully manage challenges that affect overall health, wellness, and quality of life.

Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System

Kessler Foundation, in collaboration with Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, is designated as a federally funded Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (TBIMS) of care. The TBIMS program is a national network of care and research that follows individuals from the time of injury through rehabilitation, return to school and the community, and aging with TBI. One of 16 TBI model systems, the Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS) fosters collaborative research that addresses the lifelong needs of the TBI community, translates findings into clinical care, and provides resources for individuals with TBI and their caregivers.    

Learn More

Kessler Foundation K step and repeat background image

Advancing Cognitive Rehabilitation Through Research

Individuals with TBI can have difficulty in their daily lives because of persistent deficits in their abilities to think, learn, and remember. These deficits can be disabling, interfering with their participation in school, work, and community activities, complicating caregiving, and negatively impacting their overall quality of life. Researchers are finding effective ways to treat these deficits and increase quality of life for individuals and families.

Satisfaction with Life for TBI pre and post KF intervention

 

This graph displays the changes in satisfaction with daily life, or quality of life, for two participants with traumatic brain injury, following their participation in a Kessler Foundation intervention study.

Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD administering Modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT) to research participant

Improving Everyday Life Through Behavioral Therapy

Managing the care of individuals with moderate to severe TBI presents major challenges in rehabilitative care. Treatments that are noninvasive, nonpharmacological and easy to administer can be a cost-effective approach to improving cognitive function. Researchers tested a behavioral therapy shown to improve learning and memory in multiple sclerosis, and found similar effects in individuals with TBI, as well as improvements in their ability to function in everyday life. This modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT) protocol, developed by Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, and her team, is available in Spanish and Chinese.

Image
Brain scans

MRI brain scan images displaying the differences in brain activation from before (left) to after (right) emotional processing treatment across two participants with traumatic brain injury. After treatment, increased activation is noted in the frontal and parietal regions. This data helps researchers to evaluate both behavioral and functional changes.

Studying Ways to Improve Emotional Processing

Being unable to interpret the facial expressions of others is associated with several neurological conditions, including TBI and MS. Scientists are studying new ways to treat this emotional processing deficit, which leads to problems in social situations and interpersonal relationships. Using neuroimaging, behavioral changes are correlated with brain activation patterns, providing objective evidence for the effectiveness of new treatments. A computerized training program under development may prove effective for improving social functioning in the community, the workplace, and at home, and enhance quality of life.

Join This Study

Denise Krch, PhD holding virtual reality device that is used in research

Applying Virtual Reality to Rehabilitation Research

Virtual reality offers a new approach to engaging individuals in interactive programs aimed at improving cognitive and physical function in individuals with TBI, as well as in the aging population and stroke survivors. VR technology offers a way to engage people safely in a simulated environment where they can gain be motivated to gain skills that are relevant to real life. Collaborative studies are underway on VR- based tools for assessing cognitive function, for treating cognitive impairments, and for improving balance deficits in individuals with TBI.

Combatting Disabling Cognitive Fatigue

Individuals with neurological damage often report a lack of mental energy, called cognitive fatigue that interferes with their ability to perform daily activities. Using neuroimaging techniques, researchers are learning more about the underlying mechanisms of cognitive fatigue in TBI, as well as in the MS population and veterans with Gulf War Illness. This understanding is fundamental to the development and testing of new behavioral interventions that can help individuals combat the disabling effects of fatigue.

Audio Description

Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, discusses cognitive fatigue and traumatic brain injury at the Neurotrauma Conference.

Multimedia 

  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD and Nancy Moore, MA  present "Treating New Learning and Memory Deficits in Rehabilitation Populations: the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT).”

  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: Anthony Lequerica, PhD, discusses cultural sensitivity in brain injury rehabilitation.

  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: Denise Krch, PhD presents: “Development of a virtual-based cognitive rehabilitation treatment” at Kessler Foundations Research Speakers series. Dr. Krch is a Research Scientist in the Traumatic Brain Injury Laboratory at Kessler Foundation Research Center.

  • VIDEO: Kessler Foundation and USC Announce Collaboration on Clinical Virtual Reality.

  • VIDEO: Dan Mollino's TBI Ride to Victory Featured on WMBC. On March 30th, Daniel Mollino kicked off his cross-country journey on his bicycle to bring awareness to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and raise funds for Kessler Foundation. He began his ride, known as 'TBI to Victory,' at Kessler's West Orange campus.

  • VIDEO: Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD discusses the learning process and techniques that have been shown to improve learning and memory in healthy persons.  She walks through the evidence demonstrating these techniques to additionally be helpful to persons with Multiple Sclerosis and Traumatic Brain Injury.  Techniques discussed include a structured treatment protocol, the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT) and its critical ingredients, context and imagery. 

More Podcasts  More Videos

Thumbnail

Volunteers are the Heart of Research

Change the lives of people with disabilities by joining a research study today. Learn more.

Join a Study

Join a Study Form

Volunteers are the Heart of Research

Change the lives of people with disabilities by joining a research study today. Learn more.

Join a Study

Zip Code