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Memory and Learning Phenotypes as a Biomarker of

Long-Term Outcome in TBI


NIDILRR 90SFGE0012; 9/2018 – 7/2020



Natalie Covington


A critical gap in the literature concerns the question of why some individuals with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) respond well to a given treatment while others do not, and what factors contribute to long-term psycho-social outcome and societal reintegration. This lack of knowledge represents a significant challenge for clinicians making decisions about the appropriateness of a given treatment for a particular patient and for making a timely and accurate prognosis. This lack of knowledge also impedes the work of clinical researchers who strive to develop new therapies and must determine candidate eligibility for clinical trial research. I propose that an individual’s memory and learning profile, or phenotype, is a critical factor in determining the appropriateness and success of a given intervention, is the key to understanding mechanisms of change in rehabilitation, and is linked to a range of real world abilities critical for societal reintegration. Demonstrating these relations is the objective of the current project. Specifically, the proposal seeks to: 1) identify characteristics of memory and learning phenotypes in TBI; 2) identify the structural neural correlates of the phenotype; and 3) determine the relationship between memory and learning phenotypes and psychosocial reintegration. This new knowledge establishes a critical foundation upon which to advance personalized rehabilitation and promote long-term psycho-social outcome. By tailoring our clinical research and practice to the individual, we can maximize opportunities for independence and integration. 

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