ASSBI Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment
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41st ASSBI Brain Impairment Conference 2018 ADELAIDE
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ASSBI News is a commentary on Conferences (recent and future), Workshops and Membership News of interest to members of the Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment and professionals in allied fields. ASSBI News 2017 2016 March June September December 2015 March June September December Student News: Student events for 2016 ASSBI Fellows: - If you wish to nominate a current ASSBI member as a Fellow of the Society please download, complete and email nomination form to with the CV of the nominee – nominations close on 1st March 2018 ASSBI Fellow - Nomination Form Reports: ASSBI AGM 2016 Annual Report 2016
NEWS RESEARCH PUBLISHED – NeuroRehabilitation Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L. Language and cognitive communication during post-traumatic amnesia: A critical synthesis. What the study is about Speech pathology management of cognitive communication impairment during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) remains an underreported area. PTA is a transient stage of disordered consciousness following TBI, characterised by cognitive and behavioural disturbance and confusion. Speech pathologists have a key role throughout PTA within the multidisciplinary team, in educating the team and family members on the patient’s changing ability with communicative interactions. However, there is very little literature originating from speech pathology on language and cognitive communication presentation and course of recovery during PTA and the early stages after TBI. The aim of this critical synthesis was to provide an overview of research to date on cognitive communication during PTA, to inform speech pathology assessment practice and assist with information provision to the multidisciplinary team and family members. What we did PTA as a construct is not universally used in research descriptions, therefore studies were sought that referred to language, cognition, and cognitive communication during PTA and the acute, inpatient and early recovery period after TBI, and these were examined for relevance to PTA and acute confusional state. Research relating to coma and other disorders of consciousness (e.g. minimally conscious and vegetative state) were accessed but were not a focus of this review, as was literature on motor speech disorder and paediatric traumatic brain injury. What we have found The majority of relevant research was historical and originated from psychology. Studies described disordered language and cognitive communication as part of the clinical picture during PTA and early recovery. Areas of communication impairment identified in the literature included naming, word-finding, auditory comprehension, verbal fluency, syntax, cognitive-linguistic function and discourse production. Confused language was reported as being manifested in confabulation, perseveration and disorganised discourse. There were various accounts of the mechanism of language disorder during PTA and early recovery. Some authors perceived this as resulting from generalised cognitive disorder, while others differentiated between confused language (seen as a primarily memory-related deficit) and aphasia (a language disorder). In recent research on cognitive testing during PTA, aspects of cognitive communication ability were found to have prognostic implications. What next Several areas relating to speech pathology practice during PTA are in need of future research. These include further examination of the relationship between PTA-related cognitive and behavioural impairments on communication (relative to persisting, long-term language and cognitive communication disorders), on optimal timing and methods of cognitive communication assessment during early recovery, and on the types of communication therapy that may be of benefit during PTA. Full Reference Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L. Language and cognitive communication during post-traumatic amnesia: A critical synthesis. NeuroRehabilitation 2015; 37(2):221-234. ARTICLE IN PRESS – Disability and Rehabilitation Brunner, M1, Hemsley, B1, Palmer, S2, Dann, S3, & Togher, L4,5  1Department of Speech Pathology, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia, 2Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, 3College of Business and Economics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 4Department of Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, and 5NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Brain Recovery, Sydney, Australia Review of the Literature on the Use of Social Media by People with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) What the study is about This study forms part of the literature review for the first author’s PhD studies at the University of Newcastle, Australia, under the supervision of the co-authors. Social media use is rapidly becoming a usual part of everyday life for many people and connecting online is now considered an integral part of society regardless of a person’s social status. People who have acquired communication disabilities related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and who used social media before their injury may need or want to be able to maintain their current social media use, or to recover this ability. The study aimed to review the literature relating to use of social media by people with a TBI, specifically its use for communication of information, social interaction, or rehabilitation. What we did A systematic review with a qualitative meta-synthesis of content themes was conducted with 10 databases searched for relevant, peer-reviewed research studies in English that related to both TBI and social media. What we have found Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria and content analysis identified three major categories of meaning in relation to social media and TBI: 1) risks and benefits; 2) barriers and facilitators; and 3) purposes of use of social media. Facebook and Twitter were identified as the most common social media represented in the included studies. A greater emphasis was apparent regarding risks and barriers to social media use, with little focus on facilitators of successful use by people with TBI. Identified facilitators for social media use in people with TBI included training the person with TBI and their communication partners in the use of social media. What next With a growing body of evidence on social media use by people with TBI, there is as yet no research examining the strategies or outcomes of supporting people with TBI to continue or take up social media following TBI. Current studies suggest that integrating social media training and practice into TBI rehabilitation has the potential to increase social participation and support. Rigorous evaluation regarding the efficacy of providing interventions focusing on ways to remove the barriers and increase facilitators for the use of social media by people with TBI is required. Further research is also needed on the methods of investigating content relating to TBI found in social media platforms. This research is funded by a PhD scholarship to the first author and Discovery Early Career Research Award (Australian Research Council) to the second author. More information on this study and future research into the use of social media by people with TBI can be found at or by contacting Melissa on Twitter (@LissBEE_CPSP) or email (
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