Dr. Chiaravalloti of Kessler Foundation receives $600,000 grant to study cognition and SCI


The three-year federal grant will fund research to identify treatments for cognitive difficulties in persons with spinal cord injury.

Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, of Kessler Foundation is the principal investigator of a Field-Initiated Program award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). The nearly $600,000 grant will fund her three-year project, entitled "Treating Cognitive Deficits in Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): A Randomized Clinical Trial", which seeks to improve the everyday functioning and quality of life for people with SCI.

Individuals with SCI appear to have not only deficits in learning and memory, but also a deficit in processing speed. "Research has shown that even mild cognitive deficits lead to depression, anxiety, decreased participation in society, increased unemployment, and decreased quality of life," says Dr. Chiaravalloti, director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research at Kessler Foundation, and project director of the Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS).

"That's a huge impact," says Dr. Chiaravalloti. "So it's imperative that we identify effective treatments for these deficits." Through the research, she plans to develop two highly structured, manualized treatment protocols with demonstrated efficacy in treating cognition in persons with SCI. "Cognition is central to who we are and what we do with our lives," adds Dr. Chiaravalloti. "This is a line of work that we intend to pursue vigorously."


Funded by NIDILRR grant IF16000481.

About Dr. Chiaravalloti

Dr. Chiaravalloti is director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, and director of the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System. An expert in cognitive rehabilitation research, she has focused on finding new ways to treat cognitive deficits in the brain injury and multiple sclerosis populations. Dr. Chiaravalloti has begun exploring cognitive issues affecting the population with spinal cord injury (SCI) in collaboration with colleagues in SCI Research at Kessler Foundation, also the site of the Northern New Jersey SCI Model System. Kessler Foundation is one of only nine centers in the U.S. with federally funded model systems for both TBI and SCI.

About Kessler Foundation:

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes–including employment–for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org facebook.com/KesslerFoundation http://twitter.com/KesslerFdn


Dana Hawkins-Simons, MS; 973-324-8398; [email protected]

Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; [email protected]

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