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VA RR&D Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence (BRRC)

Dr. Janis Daly is the Director of the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence located at the Malcom Randall VAMC and a large number of the Lead mentors are members of the BRRC. The goal of the VA RR&D Brain Rehabilitation Research Center (www.va.gov/BRRC) is to improve the quality of life of survivors of injury to or disease of the nervous system and to maximize their functional abilities within their communities and families. To accomplish this, the Center supports the development of innovative treatment research designed to improve the functioning of survivors through research that: (1) focuses on cognitive, sensory or movement disorders; (2) integrates physiologic with behavioral treatment; (3) determines physiologic substrates of rehabilitative change; (4) emphasizes performance in real-life situations and (5) develops efficient delivery systems. The Center of Excellence encourages, advises and supports researchers and clinicians who are interested in initiating clinically relevant research in rehabilitation of neurocognitive and neuromotor impairments. Currently the BRRC encompasses 7700 square feet of clinical research space that includes 4 clinical suites (testing/tx rooms with contiguous wheelchair accessible bathrooms), 13 staff offices, nurse coordinator office/exam room/record archive, and one equipment storage room. There is a large patient waiting area that has seating for 25, TV, coffee, drinking fountain, etc. Additionally, patients are checked in at a reception area with readily apparent signage.

The BRRC utilizes on-site computer support provided by the VA Information Resources Management Service of the Gainesville VAMC (except for those investigators who chose to be connected to the MBI CIT facility at the University of Florida). This is a highly secure national system and the BRRC has not only access to all of this net, it also has space on this secure system for storage of data The secretaries schedule all research subjects seen at the BRRC and manage the scheduling of available rooms. The IRB clerk manages all compliance (IRB and HIPAA) paperwork and in addition manages an on-site data safety monitoring board for approved studies involving BRRC resources and available to all RRD scholars. Non-veteran subjects may participate in treatment research projects within the facilities of the BRRC. The BRRC sees approximately 1-3 new patients per week in the screening clinic for evaluation of candidacy for current or future research projects.

Finally, the BRRC is the home for the Human Motor Performance Laboratory, a joint VA and UF laboratory that provides state-of-the-art measurement and analysis of normal and abnormal human movement. The 2500 square foot facility is housed in the same building as the BRRC. It features equipment capable of collecting data on respiratory, laryngeal and articulatory function during non speech and speech production tasks. Particularly, the instrumentation can sense pressure, flow and volume, kinematic, electromyographic and metabolic data. Specific pieces of equipment include highly specialized acoustic data recording workstations, respiratory function equipment such as digital spirometers, impulse oscillometry units, pressure/ transducers with ranges from 0 to 300 cmH20 and specialized neumotachograph masks for capturing oral and nasal airflow during speech. Additionally, the Kay Elemetrics digital swallow workstation is used to capture videoflourographic data on swallow function. Specialized software for analysis includes Chart 5.0 and MatLab 7.0. Additionally, the laboratory contains equipment capable of collecting gait related kinematic, kinetic, electromyographic, strength, and metabolic data and includes a Konigsburg 16-channel telemetry EMG system, a Biodex System 3 Pro Orthopedic Testing & Rehabilitation System isokinetic dynamometer, StepWatch activity monitors, a Gras electrical stimulator system, a Cosmed portable breathe-by-breathe metabolic analyzer, and a Tekscan system for measuring in-shoe pressure.