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


Exploring Questions Around Phantom Limb Pain

Laurel J. Buxbaum, PsyD

Laurel J. Buxbaum, PsyD

Limb amputation is a common problem affecting the brain’s representation of the body. Most individuals with amputation have a phantom limb with which they experience touch and pain. Laurel J. Buxbaum, PsyD, and colleagues in MRRI’s Cognition and Action Laboratory are performing experiments with people experiencing phantom limb sensations that will explore two major questions. Continue Reading