Creating a Path to Improved Naming in People with Aphasia

Aphasia can be quite frustrating  for people who struggle to communicate. In addition to naming difficulties, some people with aphasia experience comprehension impairment, where hearing or reading the name of an object conveys the wrong image or meaning.

Erica Middleton, PhD, has been studying naming problems for eight years. Her last six years have been spent researching how people with aphasia can relearn and comprehend names, first as a Post-Doc at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), and now as the Institute Scientist leading MRRI’s Language and Learning Laboratory.

In this video, Dr. Middleton talks about a five year, $2.4 million grant she received from the National Institutes of Health that will lead to a theory of learning needed to advance aphasia rehabilitation.


Developing a Rehab Treatment Specification System

For more than a decade, researchers and clinicians in the field of rehabilitation have been searching for an answer to the black box problem—that is, the field’s inability so far to characterize and ultimately classify rehabilitation treatments according to useful, operational definitions that focus on their active ingredients.

In 2014, researchers at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), together with Marcel Dijkers, PhD and colleagues at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, introduced an early framework for this process, called the Rehabilitation Treatment Taxonomy (RTT). 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


Myrna Schwartz Appears on Aphasia Access Podcast

Myrna F. Schwartz, PhD

Myrna F. Schwartz, PhD

Mryna Schwartz, PhD, co-founder of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, recently discussed best practices in aphasia care as part of the Aphasia Access Conversations podcast series.

In a conversation with Janet Patterson, PhD, Dr. Schwartz discussed the role of ethics and institutional review in clinical research activities that involve people with aphasia.

Dr. Schwartz headed MRRI’s Language and Aphasia Laboratory for many years.


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



Radio Report Features MossRehab’s Aphasia Center

Public radio station WHYY recently took an in-depth look into aphasia that featured interviews with experts from MossRehab’s Aphasia Center and members of its “Conversation Cafes.”

Antonucci

Sharon Antonucci, PhD

“While there are no guarantees about where you will end up in your recovery, opportunities for rehabilitation and opportunities for improving and increasing communication skills are lifelong,” Aphasia Center Director Sharon Antonucci, PhD, told the radio show The Pulse. Antonucci emphasized that recovery from aphasia can continue years after a stroke. Continue Reading


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


Moving to Complex Skills More Quickly in Stroke Rehab

 

During stroke rehabilitation, therapists and physicians traditionally start patients with simple skills and then slowly build to more complex activities. The idea is to begin slowly and move to more demanding activities as the patient seems ready. Is there a more effective approach?

In this video, Shailesh Kantak, PhD, shares his research suggesting that patients could move to complex activities more quickly. Continue Reading