Researchers receive three-year grant to develop treatment for traumatic brain injury

Researchers at Montclair State University and Kessler Foundation received a three-year $456,710 grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research to develop treatment interventions for the deficits in long-term memory that hinder recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Joshua Sandry, PhD, at Montclair State and Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, at Kessler Foundation, will collaborate on the study titled, "Cognitive and Neural Mediators of Working and Long-Term Memory Impairments in TBI."

Dr. Sandry, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the director of the Cognition and Neurocognitive Disorders Research Laboratory, at Montclair State where he focuses his research on cognitive domains with an emphasis on attention and memory in both healthy and clinical populations.

Dr. Dobryakova, research scientist in the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, conducts clinical research in populations with cognitive dysfunction caused by traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis, incorporating the latest techniques available at the research-dedicated Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation.

TBI can result in considerable difficulty learning and remembering new information and long-term memory impairment is one of the most common negative cognitive consequences of injury. Thus, there is a strong need to develop new clinical treatments to alleviate symptoms of impaired long-term memory.

Unfortunately, effective treatments for memory problems are limited. This shortcoming may be partially a result of inadequate knowledge about the underlying cognitive and neural processes that contribute to memory loss following injury.

This study is a foundational step in the development of innovative treatment strategies directed at process-specific remediation of the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie long-term memory impairment in TBI. Discoveries will potentially improve the quality of life for individuals with TBI-related cognitive disability, both within and outside of New Jersey.

To develop a strong foundation for treatment, it is crucial to clarify the dysfunctional processes that underlie memory impairment in TBI. Recently we reported that inefficient processing in working memory may partially underlie acquisition deficits observed in TBI," she explained. This study builds on these findings and aims to translate updated methodological approaches and theoretical views from cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology to improve our understanding of memory problems in TBI."

Dr. Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation is actively recruiting volunteers for research studies in TBI and other disabling conditions

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