Retrieval practice a useful tool after traumatic brain injury

New Jersey residents may be interested in the results of research into the treatment of brain injuries and memory loss by the Kessler Foundation. The research team compared how effective retrieval practice, massed restudy and spaced restudy were in improving the memory of patients who had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The findings were published in the Feb. 2014 issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

The research showed that retrieval practice, also referred to as testing effect, was not only more effective at improving memory after a short delay, but it was the only method still demonstrating results after a long delay. Retrieval practice involves asking subjects questions shortly after the information has been learned. Massed restudy involves repeatedly going over the information whereas spaced restudy allows subjects to revisit the information after an interval.

While the researchers conceded that a sample group of ten patients was too small to reach a definitive conclusion, they stressed that their results clearly showed the value of retrieval practice. The study concluded that brain injury patients incorporating retrieval practice into their daily routines could improve their memories. However, the research team pointed out that public perception was a major obstacle. They said that most people believe massed restudy, also referred to as cramming, is the most effective way to increase learning and improve memory.

Brain injuries are often the most crippling results of an accident or trauma. People who suffer this kind of injury often require around-the-clock medical care and long-term physical therapy, and a full recovery is not guaranteed. This can be ruinous financially, and it also places a strain on friends and family members. When these injuries are caused by the negligent actions of others, a personal injury attorney may be able to bring a civil action on the behalf of victims against the individuals responsible.

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