The research program of the NY TBI Model System is designed to advance our understanding of the consequences of TBI and ways to improve rehabilitation outcomes. The current program is based on our prior research on post-TBI fatigue (PTBIF). Although the cause of PTBIF is probably complex, one of the most likely contributors is disturbed sleep. Unfortunately, the literature on sleep and fatigue in individuals with TBI is limited and has suffered from a number of methodological shortcomings. Also, findings have been inconsistent. Not only do we not know enough about the origins of PTBIF we also have few tools to address this common problem.
To address these challenges, currently, two research projects are being implemented by the NY TBI Model System, and one project is based on a collaboration with other centers, but on which the NY TBI Model System is the lead center:
- Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition, Mood and Fatigue Following TBI (local NY project)
- An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Post-TBI Fatigue and Polysomnography (local NY project)
- A Prospective Study of the Relationship Between Post-TBI Fatigue and Insomnia (collaborative project)
As a further research activity, the NY TBI Model System contributes data to a national TBI database on approximately 40 new patients receiving model system services per year. Currently in this database are data from hundreds of individuals with TBI from across the country; each person’s data are collected upon discharge from inpatient services and at 1, 2 and 5 years thereafter and then at 5-year intervals. Researchers from the New York TBI Model System and from the other U.S. centers – together and separately – use the database to answer basic questions about outcomes of services and the consequences of TBI in daily life over many years after injury.