VCU School of Medicine Professor to Share Research with Congress
University Public Affairs
Janet Niemeier, Ph.D., associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and psychiatry in the VCU School of Medicine and director of the Inpatient Department of Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology, will speak to members of Congress at a Congressional Reception and Science Exhibition on July 12.
Niemeier is one of two National Institutes of Health-funded psychologists representing the American Psychological Association. The event is in honor of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 50th Anniversary.
Niemeier will present findings of her pilot study that evaluated the effectiveness of a brief acute neurobehavioural intervention, called the First Steps Acute Neurobehavioural and Cognitive Intervention (FANCI), with patients who have traumatic brain injury (TBI). She also will discuss progress in her current randomized controlled trial (RCT) of FANCI with 150 patients in acute TBI rehabilitation.
The subjects in the RCT are participating either as FANCI subjects or as controls, who watch videos to control for time and attention. The pilot revealed that when compared to control patients, FANCI participants showed significantly greater neurobehavioural improvements (cognitive, emotional and behavioural) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor improvements. FANCI participants also learned significantly more about brain injury in comparison to control subjects.
“The findings showed that people with TBI can benefit from comprehensive neurobehavioral interventions over and above standard rehabilitation care, even during the acute phase of recovery,” Niemeier said.
The FANCI intervention includes 10 half-hour sessions. The sessions address confusion, lack of awareness, attention, memory, emotions, fatigue and restlessness, and other domains of concerns following TBI. The trial study is innovative in addressing common post-injury symptoms with a brief, manual-based protocol early in TBI recovery.