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Evidence Lacking That Cognitive Rehab Therapy Helps Brain-Injured Vets
Date:10/11/2011

are a lot of different CRT programs out there," she said. "So, first of all it's important to gear any rehabilitation plan to those deficits that are clearly attributable to brain injury. And that could mean that if the problem is memory, word-finding, or language skills, then what you will need is a speech pathologist. But, in other cases the situation might call for a physical therapist instead."

The report committee avoided saying that these treatments are not worthwhile for treating the roughly 10 million patients who struggle with the emotional and physical impact of TBI worldwide.

But given that these interventions are in now in widespread use among the nation's nearly 31,000 military personnel currently diagnosed with TBI, the Department of Defense wanted to know exactly how effective such treatments can be.

Unfortunately, the review revealed that many studies suffer from a relatively small pool of participants, the absence of a standardized language for describing interventions and a poor accounting for a host of factors not directly attributable to brain injury that can affect treatment results.

The report said that post-traumatic stress disorder and the presence or lack of family support can affect how well patients recover from skull fractures or brain hemorrhages, and should be evaluated alongside any implementation of CRT.

The team acknowledged, however, that the therapy's effectiveness is difficult to measure given that the term serves as umbrella term for a wide range of interventions for a variety of TBI-related cognitive impairments.

The process of recovery from TBI is typically lengthy and often incomplete, the report noted, making treatment assessment tricky. Although most TBI cases are mild, others are quite severe, requiring a wholly different type of therapeutic approach and technique.

"Another problem that researchers might have come across in the past," Ott said, "is that in assessing any individual
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