In America alone, nearly 125,000 people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Beyond the need for rehabilitation to address impairments in function, there is a critical need to help patients combat the depression and loss of motivation which commonly occur after injury. In fact, people with traumatic brain injury are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to those without brain injury. Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD, is director of the Brain Injury Neuropsychology Lab at MRRI, and she has been working with colleagues to develop a chatbot to help people with TBI continue to stay focused and connected between clinical care visits.
Philadelphia Public station WHYY recently featured Dr. Rabinowitz and the RehaBot chatbot she has been studying.
“It extends the reach of the therapy by providing an always-available companion that can help somebody between sessions be more successful in fulfilling their goals and doing more of the activities that we know lead to a sense of accomplishment and pleasure that can lift somebody out of a depression,” Dr. Rabinowitz explained in the interview.
This chatbot operates via text message, and it uses elements specifically targeted to engage users and facilitate behavior change.
At MRRI, researchers are dedicated to conducting theory-driven research to improve the lives of people with neurological disabilities. RehaBot is currently being evaluated in focus groups, and it may ultimately become an important resource for people with traumatic brain injury.
Listen for the full story on whyy’s website.