Kessler Foundation received a five-year $1,897,605 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, to study neural mechanisms associated with learning in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) with and without clinical depression. 

Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, senior research scientist, is lead on the study titled, “MRI markers of feedback timing during learning in individuals with TBI with and without clinical depression.”

“During learning when feedback is presented immediately, individuals with TBI have shown learning deficits and altered brain activity,” says Dr. Dobryakova, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation. She conducts clinical research in populations with cognitive dysfunction caused by TBI and multiple sclerosis, incorporating the latest techniques available at the research-dedicated Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation.

“At this time, no study has examined the neural mechanisms of learning in individuals with TBI who have depression. However, individuals who have TBI and depression are at a greater risk for learning dysfunction and poor rehabilitation outcomes since learning impairment greatly hinders rehabilitation outcomes. Therefore, there is a great need to fill this research gap,” Dr. Dobryakova explains.

The identification of neural mechanisms in people with TBI and depression will convey new knowledge about the effect of depression on the injured brain, including interventions concerning the effectiveness of feedback and its timing, according to Dr. Dobryakova. “Our research will broaden fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system associated with learning in TBI as well as support the development of interventions for other clinical populations that require rehabilitation and have a high occurrence of depression,” she concludes.

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]

Related Content:
The US Is Failing to Care for Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors, Experts Say