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Evidence points to potential roles for cognitive rehabilitation therapy in treating traumatic brain injury, but further research needed
Date:10/11/2011

especially in more severe cases. The report responds to a request from the U.S. Department of Defense for an objective evaluation of CRT's effectiveness to guide decisions about the use and coverage of these interventions in the military health system.

Researchers face many challenges in studying CRT for TBI, including lack of standardized terms for the different forms of CRT and the difficulty of evaluating the influence of coexisting factors that can affect CRT's impact -- such as post-traumatic stress disorder and other concurrent health conditions and environmental factors such as family support. The evidence base has also been limited by the relatively small number of people enrolled in many of the studies.

Larger sample sizes and standardized data are required to improve future studies of CRT's effectiveness for TBI treatment, the report says. More extensive experimental trials and a commitment to mining clinical practice data in the most rigorous way possible are needed to answer questions about which patients benefit most from which CRT intervention or combination of interventions, the committee concluded. The research community needs to define and standardize the variables that characterize differences among patients, the outcomes that are used to measure the impact of treatment, and the treatments themselves. Although there is little evidence of any risk for harm associated with CRT, the committee suggests additional research to further evaluate potential adverse effects. Research should be designed to explore the effects of CRT interventions across various levels of TBI severity and durations, the report adds.

"Survivors of traumatic brain injury may face long-term challenges in rehabilitation and reintegration to everyday life. They need an effective health care infrastructure and evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation policies to care for and cope with their impairments," said committee chair Ira Shoulson, prof
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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