On March 20th, leaders will gather on Capitol Hill to commemorate National Brain Injury Awareness Day in the hopes of raising awareness of injuries that claim the lives of 137 people each day and impact someone in the U.S. every 13 seconds. The day lands within National Brain Injury Awareness Month.
The recent Boston Globe article that claims nearly half of Patriots on the first 3 Super Bowl-winning teams report brain injuries, sheds light on one of the most costly public health crises facing America. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of long-term disability in children and adults younger than 35, costing $75 billion a year.
While efforts to better understand how to diagnosis and prevent brain injuries are critical, there is an even more urgent need to develop treatments for survivors to improve cognition and restore behavioral control. The principle challenges confronting us are not only to understand how a brain gets damaged, but more critically to discover ways to improve the function of the brain parts that have escaped damage.
A major focus of the research at Kessler Foundation seeks to improve cognition in persons who are living with TBI. In an attempt to improve a person's cognitive functioning after TBI, researchers have developed and proved efficacy of the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT). The treatment protocol was found to improve memory in adults with moderate to severe TBI, providing the first Class I evidence for the efficacy of this intervention in the TBI population. The mSMT protocol has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Italian, and is currently being used in 8 different countries.