Understanding How People Plan and Execute Skilled Movements

Aaron L. Wong, PhD, an institute scientist at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, studies how people gain the ability to perform skilled actions – the movements exhibited, for example, by professional athletes, dancers and musicians – as a model for how individuals might recover movement abilities following neurological disorders or stroke.

In this video, he discusses his research using a robotic arm to understand how motivation in the form of reward can be used to help people more efficiently reduce their movement errors.
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MossRehab Ranks Among Nation’s Best, Again

MossRehab, the renowned physical and cognitive rehabilitation arm of Einstein Healthcare Network, has again been named by U.S. News & World Report magazine as a top 10 rehabilitation facility in the country. MossRehab is also the top ranked facility of its type in Pennsylvania.

This is the 25th time the facility, which provides rehabilitation for spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation and traumatic brain injury, among other conditions, has made the list.

The Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute is MossRehab’s research component. Continue Reading



Creating a ‘Yardstick’ for Measuring Progress in Rehab

In physical medicine and rehabilitation, doctors and therapists generally measure progress using the Functional Improvement Measurement (FIM)™ – a widely accepted scale designed to gauge the functional abilities of patients undergoing rehabilitation.

The problem, according to John Whyte, MD, PhD, director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, is that the FIM score doesn’t provide enough detail to distinguish between patients throughout the entire process of rehabilitation.

In this video, Dr. Whyte talks about his project to develop a more effective means of measuring patient progress. Continue Reading


Buxbaum, Colleagues Publish Study on Phantom Limb Pain

Standard treatment generally doesn’t provide relief for people with amputations who experience phantom limb pain. However, research on the use of virtual reality has recently shown promise for this new approach.

Laurel J. Buxbaum, PsyD, associate director of MRRI, and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, in Stuttgart, Germany, recently published research about the use of immersive low-cost virtual reality treatment for the treatment of phantom limb pain. Continue Reading


Better Defining Medical Rehabilitation Treatments

When a doctor prescribes medical rehabilitation for a patient he or she often describes it in terms of time length (12 weeks), the institution where it will occur or the type of rehab – (physical therapy vs. gait training, etc.). None of that specifies what the therapist is actually expected to do. In this video, John Whyte, MD, PhD, founding director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, discusses his research on defining the active ingredients that need to be part of the therapeutic process. Continue Reading


Evaluating Aphasia Conversation Groups

The MossRehab Aphasia Center was founded over 20 years ago to meet the long-term communication and psychosocial needs of individuals who have been affected by aphasia. Over the years, conversation groups have become a core component of the activities the Center offers to people with aphasia.

In the Constance Sheerr Kittner Conversation Cafes, members have the opportunity to have their voices heard in a supportive environment. Adult conversation and social interaction are encouraged, with all group members engaging in communication strategies.

Recently, the Aphasia Center began a research project into measuring the effectiveness of these conversation groups.

In this video, Aphasia Center Director Sharon Antonucci, PhD, CCC-SLP, discusses the project, which focuses on finding the best metrics for tracking success among participants in this group.


Dr. Rabinowitz to Study Causes of Depression in Brain Injury

Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD, director of the Brain Injury Neuropsychology Laboratory at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), has received funding to research depression in people who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). Specifically, she and her team are hoping to understand whether depression or a lack of participation in one’s usual activities comes first—what Rabinowitz refers to as a “chicken-or-the-egg” problem.

The $93,000 grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

“We know that people with TBI may not be able to participate in their regular activities and experience the sense of reward that comes from them,” says Dr. Rabinowitz. “And this may lead to depression. However, people who become depressed first may also disengage from their usual activities. So our question is which one of the mechanisms is causing the other?” Continue Reading


MRRI Testing Post-Concussion Smart Phone App

There are two major challenges in concussion management:

  1. There is no way to identify which patients will experience persistent problems, and
  2. No evidenced-based treatments are available for these patients.

Treatment development is hampered by the dearth of prognostic markers, hence the first problem contributes to the latter.

Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD, director of the Brain Injury Neuropsychology Laboratory at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, is conducting a research study that uses mobile app technology to address this issue. Continue Reading