TBI can lead to changes in emotional, behavioural and social functioning and produce difficulties in a person's ability to communicate with others, a person's thinking abilities (such as concentration, and learning and remembering information), and a person's sense of self.
Dr Cynthia Honan, a clinical neuropsychologist and lecturer at the University of Tasmania, in conjunction with Professor Skye McDonald (UNSW) and colleagues at major Australian universities, have banded together to provide recommendations for the assessment of psychosocial functioning across speech pathology, occupational therapy, clinical psychology, social work, neuropsychiatry, and neuropsychology. The recommendations are a significant advance in the forging of a strong Australian research environment to examine psychosocial function after TBI, and boost rehabilitation efforts to improve the lives of people living with a TBI.
Dr Honan says poor social abilities and feelings of depression or stress, for example, can significantly affect a person's everyday functioning and quality of life.
TBI is the most common cause of disability in young people in Australia, with the most frequent causes being car accidents, physical assaults, sporting accident, and falls.
Dr Honan was a lead project manager and an investigator with the Moving Ahead National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence, which brings together leading researchers and clinicians, from various rehabilitation centres, hospitals and universities across Australia to create innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to supporting people with TBI.
Dr Christine Padgett, an expert in neuropsychology and behavioural genetics at the University of Tasmania, also researches brain injury. Dr Padgett has worked in conjunction with the Royal Hobart Hospital, to explore whether specific genes might influence the way people recover after traumatic brain injury.
She also works with Dr Honan to investigate how social abilities change after traumatic brain injury, with the support of community organisations such as the Tasmanian Acquired Brain Injury Services in Launceston, and the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania.
Leading a national, collaborative project investigating 'Pathways to Housing Tax Reform' with the aim of developing an evidence-based strategy for breaking the political deadlock afflicting Australian housing tax policy. The project was supported by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Dr Kimberley Norris graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2010. She is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, the APS Teaching, Learning and Psychology Interest Group, and Associate Member of the SCAR Joint Expert Group on Human Biology and Medicine.
Christine Padgett is a lecturer at the School of Medicine (Psychology). Her research interests broadly encompass clinical neuropsychology and behavioural genetics. She has a particular interest in genetic predictors of cognitive outcome following neurological insult or injury, and has explored cognitive function in clinical populations including epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. She is also interested in the relationship between emotion and political ideology. Dr Padgett is also involved in learning and teaching research, and is currently investigating how to improve student engagement in the online learning environment.
Dr Cynthia Honan is a clinical neuropsychologist and lecturer within the School of Medicine. Dr Honan's research focuses on the neuropsychology of various clinical disorders including multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury, and alcohol intoxication. She has a specific interest in social cognition, cognitive fatigue and cognitive biomarkers, meta-social-cognitive functioning, and functional outcomes (e.g., employment and meaningful occupation).
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