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Memory aid research to help brain injury sufferers

Memory aids have long been identified as a way for people with traumatic brain injuries to remember everyday tasks, and a study by psychology researcher Hannah Bos wants to determine which could be best.


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Hannah Bos

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The clinical psychology doctoral candidate would like to hear from people who suffered a moderate or severe brain injury to join her study measuring one traditional memory aid with one using new technology.

Participants will be randomly assigned one of the two memory aids and will be provided with training in how to use them, she says. Throughout the study participants will be asked to keep a short record of their memory, and will be asked to complete two brief memory tasks each week.

Ms Bos says the randomised controlled research trial means none of the participants are allowed to know in advance which memory aid they will be testing to ensure their responses are not compromised by using a different kind of device to that assigned to them.

Prospective memory deficits, which are the ability to remember to perform a planned action at the intended time, are a common result of traumatic brain injury, she says. “Deficits in prospective memory have devastating effects on a person’s ability to be independent and may increase their care burden.

“Research demonstrates compensating by using memory aids is best practice in rehabilitation. While research has investigated several types of memory aids there have been little direct comparisons between [these] two.”

To date Ms Bos has already completed the testing of three respondents who have suffered a traumatic brain injury through either car accident or fall. Another five are currently being tested but she would like another 10 respondents to join the study before issuing her findings early next year. One requirement is that the brain trauma experienced by participants needs to have happened at least a year ago to allow the brain tissue to heal.

Participants in the study range in age from their teens to over 60 says Ms Bos whose main research subject for her PhD is in the field of neuro-psychology. “Because memory functions can interrupt so much in everyday life I wanted to do my research in an area that can be a focus of treatment at the same time.”

The research is being supported through a small project grant from the Neurological Foundation as well as the Massey University Psychology Fund.

To sign up for her study contact Hannah Bos at 04-801-5799 x 62609 mobile 021-0261-9451 or email hbos.massey@gmail.com

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