Kessler Foundation expert to study effects of prism adaptation therapy for spatial neglect

A.M. Barrett, MD, of Kessler Foundation received a grant totaling $595,756 to study the effects of prism adaptation therapy for spatial neglect in survivors of right-sided stroke. The title of the 3-year grant from National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is 'Impact of Prism Adaptation Therapy for Spatial Neglect on Home and Community Outcomes' (H133G120203). Dr. Barrett, an expert in hidden disabilities such as spatial neglect, is director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation.

"At Kessler Foundation, we recognize that cognitive deficits are a major obstacle to rehabilitation of stroke survivors, as well as to those with brain injury and multiple sclerosis," said John DeLuca, PhD, vice president for Research and Training. "By focusing attention on the cognitive effects of stroke that often go undetected and untreated, Dr. Barrett's research will improve rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with hidden disabilities."

Kessler Foundation is a leader in establishing new clinical practice guidelines to reliably identify and treat hidden disabilities after stroke. Following right hemispheric stroke, 30-70% of survivors cannot reliably report or respond to external events that take place in the contralesional space. Called spatial neglect, this disorder often overlooked as an underlying factor in accidents, falls, safety problems and functional disability that prolongs recovery and increases costs for rehabilitation. Kessler Foundation's research team proposes methods of classifying stroke survivors to predict their response to treatment. "This study will test whether our discovery that spatial-motor function predicts better right stroke recovery is therapy-specific, or is a general principle of right stroke resolution," explained Dr. Barrett.

Researchers will administer prism adaptation therapy for 2 weeks in the inpatient setting, and will measure functional changes as well as home and community outcomes 3 and 6 months later. Short-term goals are to establish clinical guidelines, to increase the rate of detection and improve management and treatment of spatial neglect. Launch of a multi-site clinical trial of prism therapy is planned for the next stage of research. The long-term objective is to reduce falls, accidents and other morbidity associated with spatial neglect and optimize independence and engagement in the home and community for stroke survivors.



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