Research

Research

Conventional thinking about brain injury concluded that neurological improvements plateau after a period of time.  Research has challenged this assumption and is proving that the brain can recover function many years after an injury.  Recent breakthroughs in understanding of brain plasticity continue to expand and enhance this area.  The SLI Brain Injury Research Council organizes a multidisciplinary team of brain injury clinical professionals to collaborate in evaluating the effectiveness of physical, cognitive and social programs on improvements in individuals with brain injury.

Members of the SLI Brain Injury Research Council propose and conduct projects. See Dr. Laura Lorenz, Director of Research at Supportive Living  speak with Good Morning Boston about brain injury in Massachusetts.

Recently published research briefs include:

Pilot study of intensive exercise on endurance, advanced mobility and gait speed in adults with chronic severe acquired brain injury

This study investigated the effects of high-intensity exercise on endurance, mobility and gait speed of adults with chronic moderate-to-severe acquired brain injury (ABI).  Post-intervention improvements were achieved on average on all three measures, greater than minimal detectable change (MDC) for this population. Three participants transitioned from low-to-high ambulatory status and maintained the change 6 weeks later.

Residential transitions: Perspectives of brain injury survivors

This study summarized residential transition experiences of a group of chronic brain injury survivors. Participants addressed themes of investment in the transition process, transition to more/less restrictive environments, the search for a balance between support and independence, the desire to pursue interests, and the ongoing search for fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment. 

Talking with Pictures: Understanding community integration of older adults with acquired brain injury (ABI)

This participatory study explored the community integration of five older adults (age 55+) with ABI (traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain tumor, and guillaine-barre) living in Lexington, MA. Participants used photography and writing to reflect on their lives, experiences, and community, and to communicate their findings.  Study photos and exhibits have informed town government decision-making (approval of funding for sidewalk improvement) and raised awareness of ABI in the community.

View a video summary on our YouTube Channel here.

Exercise to improve physical fitness and function in adults with chronic moderate to severe acquired brain injury

This study investigated the capacity of a group of people with chronic acquired brain injury (ABI) to improve their physical fitness and function with 6 weeks of intensive exercise. Findings indicate that the program improved participants’ endurance and ability to walk in the community as well as capacity to achieve advanced gait, and have informed program expansion. Utilization includes identifying health, healthcare utilization, and function measures to use to track outcomes over time.

Education

The SLI Brain Injury Research Council is committed to sharing the results of our research and programs in many venues, including community settings, at brain injury conferences and seminars, and in industry journals.

We share research results with our research participants, their family members and care professionals to gain insights into the findings and how best to apply them to improve the effectiveness of physical, cognitive, and social fitness programs for brain injury.

Please contact Laura Lorenz for additional information:  llorenz@brandeis.edu