Aphasia Center Receives Donor Gift

Two donors, Stewart and Sally Eisenberg, have decided to endow the Reta’s Games Group at the MossRehab Aphasia Center, in honor of their family matriarch, Reta Eisenberg.

Reta has been a tireless advocate for families living with aphasia for almost 30 years. She was instrumental in the founding of the Aphasia Center in 1996 after witnessing the impact aphasia had on her husband, Marty, prior to his death. Like others struggling with aphasia, Marty was unable to speak in full sentences, read a book, write his name, express basic needs such as hunger, and would use the wrong words or forget words when communicating – including the names of their children. Continue Reading


Rehabilitation Science Lecture Series Launched

This year, the newly launched Shrier Family Topics in Rehabilitation Science Lecture Series will enable MossRehab’s dedicated physicians, nurses, therapists, research scientists and staff to enhance care through the practical application of translational research.

Shrier's with MRRI Scientists

Marc and Nancy Shrier attended the most recent installment of the Shrier Family Topics in Rehabilitation Science Lecture Series with (far left, John Whyte, MD, PhD, founding Director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI) and speaker speaker Steve Jax, PhD, Institute Scientist, MRRI.)

Thanks to a generous gift from long-time MossRehab and Einstein Healthcare Network champions, Nancy and Marc Shrier, clinicians will be able to share more widely the innovative research and pioneering rehabilitation technologies they are developing at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI). Devoted to improving the lives of individuals with neurological disabilities through research, MRRI is impacting rehabilitation therapies around the globe. Continue Reading


Rabinowitz Co-authors Study on Long-Term Effects of Concussion

Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD, director of MRRI’s Brain Injury Neuropsychology Lab, along with John Whyte, PhD, MD, and collaborators at University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, contributed to a recently published study looking at the long-term effects of participation in high school football.

Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD

The study appeared in the journal JAMA Neurology. It was based on data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS), which has followed a random sample of Wisconsin class of 1957 high school graduates.

In a recent column in Scientific American, the study’s authors describe their results:

“We were surprised to find that playing high school football did not have a statistically significant harmful effect on later-life cognition and mental health in this sample. Moreover, it did not have an effect on anxiety, anger, hostility, or alcohol abuse later in life.” Continue Reading


MRRI Scientists to Visit University College London

Gabriella Vigliocco imageAs a result of a Global Engagement Grant awarded to Gabriella Vigliocco, PhD, of University College London (UCL), Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute scientists will visit UCL next year for a workshop to discuss future collaborative research possibilities in the domains of language and action.

For several weeks a year, Professor Vigliocco is a “Scientist in Residence” at MRRI, where she collaborates regularly with researchers in the language and action domains. This grant will further enhance close collaboration between the two institutions.

Dr. Vigliocco is professor of psychology at University College London, where she directs the Language and Cognition Laboratory.


MRRI Testing Medication’s Effect on Memory in Brain Injury Patients

People with traumatic brain injuries frequently face problems with everyday memory function – an issue that can limit their recovery.  Tessa Hart, PhD, director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Laboratory, is contributing to research that may lead to improved memory in those people.

As part of a four-site study, Dr. Hart’s lab is testing whether the medication donepezil, which is used to treat dementia in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, can help with memory function in TBI patients. Donepezil is approved by the FDA and is known to be safe, with minimal side effects.

In this video, Dr. Hart provides more information on the study, which is currently recruiting additional research subjects. If you are interested in participating in the study, please call 215-663-6432.


Studying Concussions Using Smart Phone App

Physicians trying to manage concussion symptoms face a dual challenge – no way to identify which patients will go on to suffer from persistent concussion symptoms and a dearth of evidence-based treatments.

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 core issue.

In Dr. Rabinowitz’s study, recently concussed individuals use a smart-phone app to record their symptoms at multiple times throughout the day while they go about their daily activities.

As she explains in this video, the ultimate goal is to develop a method for planning individualized concussion treatments.


Hart Receives Award for Lifetime Contributions

Dr. Hart holding award

Tessa Hart, PhD, institute scientist, recently received the Roger G. Barker Distinguished Research Contribution Award at the 2017 Rehabilitation Psychology Conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

The annual Barker award is “conferred upon an individual who is judged to have made an outstanding lifelong contribution to Rehabilitation Psychology through empirical research, conceptual/ theoretical development, or both.” It is named for Roger G. Barker, who was a founder of environmental psychology, which focuses on how social and physical environments influence actions and behavior.

Dr. Hart directs the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Laboratory as well as the Moss Traumatic Brain Injury Model System. Her research focuses on TBI outcomes and treatments, with special focus on long-term psychosocial outcomes and treatments involving cognitive and emotional self-regulation.


Using Mirror Therapy to Trick the Brain’s Motor System

Many people who have had a stroke experience difficulties moving one arm. These problems can significantly affect their quality of life, but treating them is often difficult and many individuals fail to ever recover adequate use of the arm. Improvement for many people who have experienced a stroke is also hindered by limited medical insurance coverage for long-term therapy.

Hope may come for these patients from a technique using mirrors that tricks the brain into thinking it sees both limbs as healthy. Continue Reading


Testing a Treatment for Phantom Limb Pain

Research by Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and Penn Medicine into a treatment for the phantom limb pain received coverage on a Philadelphia television station recently.

Almost 2 million people in the U.S. have had an amputation. The great majority of those people experience a persistent sensation of the missing limb, known as a “phantom limb,” which is associated with debilitating pain. Current therapies fall short of bringing relief to most of these individuals. Continue Reading


MRRI’s Virtual Reality Tool Helps Assess Hemispatial Neglect

People who have suffered a stroke to the brain’s right hemisphere may struggle with problems related to vision and space perception, mood, energy and recognition of their own difficulties. This cluster of deficits is called right hemisphere stroke syndrome.

Laurel J. Buxbaum, PsyD, and her team at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute developed an improved method for testing and treating patients for hemispatial neglect after a stroke using virtual reality.

In this new video, Dr. Buxbaum explains how patients at MossRehab’s Right Hemisphere Stroke Center are benefiting from this state-of-art tool. Continue Reading