Groundbreaking research will help experts learn more about how memory can be significantly improved in people who have suffered brain injuries.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and the University of Nottingham are taking part in the Rehabilitation of Memory in Brain Injuries (ReMemBrin) trial.
Researchers will focus on strategies to improve and compensate for memory difficulties in people with these injuries, including military personnel.
“The purpose of our research is to help people with brain injuries boost their everyday memory so they can get on with their lives and do the things that people take for granted” – Dr Roshan das Nair, NUH consultant clinical psychologist
The trial, costing £1million, will begin in September and has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme.
Dr Roshan das Nair, consultant clinical psychologist at NUH and research tutor in clinical psychology at the University of Nottingham, said: “If the results are successful and prove to be cost-effective, the findings of the ReMembrin trial will be of great benefit to health services in the UK and abroad.”
Dr das Nair will lead the ‘ReMemBrin’ trial in partnership with Professor Nadina Lincoln, from the Institute of Work, Health and Organisations at the University of Nottingham.
They will recruit 312 volunteers, aged 16-69, from NHS hospitals, rehabilitation centres, brain injury charities, GP surgeries, military charities and defence medical rehabilitation units.
About half the volunteers will focus on strategies to improve memory function and the remaining volunteers will continue to receive their existing level of care. The progression of their memory functions will be observed in a 10-week group session at study centres in Nottingham, Epsom, Birmingham and Chester.
Dr das Nair said: “Memory problems are a common complaint for those who have had a traumatic brain injury. Six percent of those attending Accident and Emergency departments in the UK have sustained a traumatic brain injury and as a result many of these patients will have memory problems.
“There is some evidence that memory rehabilitation may help reduce everyday forgetting, but this has not been evidenced by large-scale randomised controlled trials.
“We will be exploring the benefits of using memory aids such as mnemonics – that is using patterns, words and images to remember details – diaries, mobile phones and cameras. Our teams will also be looking for other imaginative ways to help improve memory and reduce forgetting.
“The purpose of our research is to help people with brain injuries boost their everyday memory so they can get on with their lives and do the things that people take for granted, for example remembering to pick their children up from school, turning the stove off or knowing where they have put things.”
He added: “If this study confirms the benefits of intervention it could lead to a change in clinical practice in the NHS and abroad. Our team will also use questionnaires to get feedback from those taking part in the trial to establish if intervention improved their quality of life and is cost-effective.”