Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

THE IMPACT OF A COGNITIVE INTERVENTION PROGRAM IN ADULTS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

 

The increased incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its potentially serious long-term consequences have enormous impact on clinical care, society and the economy in Canada. In 2009-2010, more than 98,000 Canadians or 2.4% of the population aged 12 and older sustained a brain injury (Statistics Canada, 2011). In the United States, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur annually. Yet despite its high prevalence, TBI is one of the least understood neurological injuries. Emerging evidence shows that the effects of TBI are not transient and may be associated with significant long-term consequences on brain function. An impact to the head results in an immediate and direct insult to the brain, setting off a complex cascade of metabolic and neurochemical events. These effects can lead to long-term changes in brain physiology that ultimately impact cognitive, motor and affective function. Over a lifetime, repeated brain trauma is associated with increased incidence of multiple neuropsychiatric conditions and is a significant risk factor for developing neurodegenerative disorders.

Cognitive impairments are the most common long-term challenges after TBI, however little is known about how such cognitive changes are related to changes in brain structure and function. More importantly, there is limited research on the effectiveness of learning-based interventions in individuals with chronic TBI. We are currently conducting a pilot study to:

  1. Develop a multi-modal platform to unravel the complex changes in brain and behaviour following TBI. This unique approach, which uses a combination of novel and current neuroimaging tools combined with targeted clinical and neuropsychological assessments, will lead to the development of a brain signature of TBI that can be used diagnostically to predict functional outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention.
  2. Gain insight into whether and how an intensive, targeted cognitive intervention program—specifically the Arrowsmith Program (http://www.arrowsmithschool.org/arrowsmithprogram-background/research.html), may stimulate positive changes in the brain in adults with TBI.

 

If you would like more information about the research study please contact Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul (nvb31@mail.ubc.ca)

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