Indiana University / Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana

The Indiana TBI Model System is based on the solid integration of partnerships with Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM), IU Health, St. Vincent Health, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, the TBI community, and other key stakeholders. The cornerstone of the TBI Model Systems is a national database, with over 15,000 participants enrolled and outcomes followed over the past 25 years. This database has informed clinicians and scientists how to better help people with TBI and their families. Funding of this project at IUSM allows national database enrollment, as well as multi-site and local research.
The focus of our local research is aimed at improving awareness of one's emotions after TBI in the hopes of improving emotional control and decrease problems with anxiety, anger, irritability, and aggression. Reduced emotion control is a common and often chronic problem after TBI. Although impaired emotion control is a multifaceted problem, one key component identified in the research is alexithymia. Alexithymia is characterized by poor emotional awareness, difficulty describing and differentiating emotions, and problems acknowledging and associating physical sensations with emotions. Post-TBI alexithymia is a frequent problem (30-61%) and has been associated with poor emotional control, anxiety, depression, anger and aggression. The rationale is that one must be able to recognize self-emotions before regulation can occur, and disruption of the former (alexithymia) disrupts the latter. We developed the first structured alexithymia intervention to teach people with TBI the fundamental awareness needed to regulate self-emotions. Feasibility testing showed reduced alexithymia, and post-intervention improvements in emotion regulation, anxiety, and anger. Our TBI Model Systems project entails a phase II (efficacy) assessment of this alexithymia intervention via a randomized, wait-list controlled trial with 3-month follow-up. Results are expected to directly improve clinical care, outcomes, and quality of life for people with TBI and alexithymia.

Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana

4141 Shore Dr.
Indianapolis IN 46254

Project Officer: Theresa San Agustin, M.D.
Project Number:
Flora Hammond, M.D.
Executive Committee Chair
Project 329-2106
Dawn Neumann 329-2188
Becky Runkel, MHA
Clinical Research 329-2217
Darby Dyar
Clinical Study 329-2529
Victoria Leaman
Clinical Study Technician 918-2979
Amber Armstrong
Clinical Research 329-2131
Christina Miller
Clinical Research 329-2113
Amanda Melton
Clinical Study 329-2131
Grace Brackemyre
Clinical Study 809-1497