Research In Focus: A Weekly Digest of New Research from the NIDILRR Community

Research In Focus is a weekly publication featuring reader-friendly summaries of the latest research from NIDILRR-funded projects. Each installment presents you with an overview of a recently-published NIDILRR-funded study, highlighting important findings, and discussing implications or directions for future research. This could be a starting point to learn more about the intervention, technology, or program. We hand-select the articles from our diverse library collections, aiming to broadly cover interesting research in many areas of disability, various types of intervention, and a wide range of age spectrum from early childhood to aging with and into disability. To be alerted to new articles, sign up for our weekly email newsletter News and Notes from the NIDILRR Community and Beyond! These articles are also available in Spanish.

As the population ages, many people are growing older with physical disabilities they were either born with or acquired when they were younger, such as muscular dystrophy (MD), multiple sclerosis (MS), or spinal cord injury (SCI). In the general population, people have a higher risk of developing chronic health problems such as heart disease and cancer as they get older. Older adults with physical disabilities may have an even higher risk of health problems than their peers without... Read this article

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About half a million Americans are treated for burn-related injuries each year. A burn can result from exposure to a fire or contact with hot liquids, chemicals, or electricity. Although the burn injury itself is often treatable, burn injury survivors may have lasting functional challenges. These can include problems with cognition—thinking, remembering, or solving problems— due to the effects of inhaling smoke or toxic fumes, loss of oxygen, anesthetic use, or other medical complications.... Read this article

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People with serious mental illness (SMI) have conditions like depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder that can affect their ability to participate in their communities and build social relationships. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, allows people with and without disabilities to connect with friends and family, both locally and far away. Many people with SMI use social media to communicate with friends, find peer support from others with similar conditions, or receive... Read this article

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of movement disability in children. CP can result from brain damage before, during, or soon after birth, and it can be mild, moderate or severe. Children with CP often have trouble coordinating their body movements. As a result, they may be delayed in learning to sit without support. Independent sitting is an important milestone that can help children explore and play with objects more effectively and if not achieved, can delay development in... Read this article

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A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the spinal cord is damaged, often from an accident or trauma. SCI can lead to a number of health challenges. Dyspnea, or frequent shortness of breath, is one challenge that can lower quality of life. According to some past studies, being physically active after a SCI may help prevent dyspnea and improve quality of life. In a recent NIDILRR-funded study, researchers looked at the connections between physical activity, dyspnea, and quality of life in... Read this article

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People with disabilities and the professionals who support them have knowledge and experience that could be valuable to communities in addressing disability-related issues. However, when communities come together to work on these issues, some stakeholders may be left out of the discussion. A recent NIDILRR-funded study used a well-established community conversation format (World Café) as a way to bring more underrepresented voices into the discussion. Specifically, they wanted to see whether... Read this article

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Each year, about 1.6 million Americans experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI occurs when someone experiences brain damage after a head trauma, such as from a fall or a car accident. Memory problems are common, affecting more than half of people with TBI. People with TBI may have trouble learning and remembering new information, which can cause challenges in school, work, and other settings. Memory training exercises can help people with TBI improve memory. However, it would be... Read this article

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Each year, about 486,000 Americans receive treatment for serious burn-related injuries. A burn injury may result from exposure to a fire or skin contact with hot liquids, electricity, or chemicals. People with burn injuries may undergo surgery to repair the skin or address scarring in the burned area, and then spend some time recovering at a rehabilitation hospital. During this time, they may continue to receive follow-up care from their burn surgeon. Traveling between the rehabilitation... Read this article

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People with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI) often have trouble communicating due to disabilities that affect their muscle control, such as cerebral palsy (CP), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or stroke. These individuals can benefit greatly from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and programs that can translate typed text to speech, like the computer system used by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking who has ALS. A brain-computer interface (BCI) is one new... Read this article

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For people with disabilities, transportation can be a major challenge. People may be unable to drive a car, ride a bike, or travel on foot due to a disability. If transportation is not available, accessible, and affordable, people with disabilities may not be able to fully participate in daily activities. For example, people may have trouble getting to work, running errands, going to the doctor, or socializing without adequate transportation.

In a recent NIDILRR-funded study,... Read this article

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