Recently published results from the TBI-MEM trial by Kessler Foundation, West Orange, NJ, reportedly suggest that significant changes in cerebral activation take place after memory retraining in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The study, “Examining the efficacy of the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT) in persons with TBI using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): The TBI-MEM Trial” was published on July 8 by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, according to a news release from Kessler Foundation.

Eighteen participants with moderate to severe TBI were assigned to either the treatment (n=9) or placebo group (n=9), the release explains. They all underwent neuropsychological assessment, cognitive ability assessment, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a learning task before and after treatment. The treatment group was administered the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT), a 10-session memory retraining protocol based on visualization and context; the placebo group underwent memory exercises without visualization or context training.

According to the release, fMRI findings showed a pattern of changes in cerebral activation in the mSMT treatment group.

“This is the second study we have conducted that shows significant changes in activation patterns on neuroimaging after behavioral memory intervention,” says Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of Neuroscience & Neuropsychology and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research at Kessler Foundation, one of the study’s authors, in the release.

“These changes likely reflect increased brain efficiency and decreased task difficulty after training with mSMT. Memory deficits are a major cause of disability after TBI. Identifying effective cognitive interventions is critical to improving quality of life in this population,” she continues in the release.

[Source: Kessler Foundation]