VA Exploring Alternative Treatments for TBI and PTSD 

WASHINGTON – December 7, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will use two innovative treatments to ease the everyday challenges associated with living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“We know that for a small group of Veterans, a traditional approach to health care may not be the most effective,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “This is particularly true with certain chronic medical and mental health conditions. For Veterans who don’t improve, we have to look for innovative, evidence-based approaches that may help them restore and maintain their health and well-being.”

Veterans with a history of mild to moderate TBI now have access to light emitting diode (LED) therapy contained in a lightweight frame that is placed on the head and a clip placed inside the nose.  Results of some studies show that LED improves brain function including attention and memory, emotions and sleep. LED therapy has begun at the VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain campus, this month. LED also is available for Veterans to use in their homes.


VA is exploring innovative emerging therapies that may offer hope and help to Veterans.

The VA’s Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) supports novel neurorehabilitation treatments aimed at enhancing Veterans’ physical and mental well-being.

The newly established LED Clinic at the VA Boston Healthcare System, JP campus, is offering non-invasive light emitting diode (LED) therapy for the Veterans with TBI and TBI-related neuropsychiatric symptoms.  Dr. Yelena Bogdanova of BUSM serves as a Clinic Lead at the LED TBI Clinic and works on the development and implementation of the LED Home-based Treatment Program for Veterans with chronic TBI.


LED Therapy to Treat Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD

LED Clinical Trials to Focus on TBI

Dr. Yelena Bogdanova, a Clinical Psychologist with VA and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at BUSM, will lead a VA-funded trial looking at the impact of LED therapy on sleep and cognition in Veterans with blast TBI.



Computerized Rehab Can Improve Attention and Executive Function in TBI Patients


Researchers have shown that computerized cognitive rehabilitation (a program to help brain-injured or otherwise cognitively impaired individuals to restore normal functioning) can improve attention and executive functioning in brain injury survivors including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke.  More


Computerized Rehab Aids Those Suffering from Brain Injuries


The results of this systematic review provide encouraging evidence that computerized cognitive rehabilitation can improve attention and executive functioning in brain injury survivors. According to the researchers computerized treatment delivery can significantly reduce the wait time and cost of treatment, provide immediate access to treatment in any location, improve the quality of life of patients and reduce the burden of caregivers.


Computerized rehab helps to restore functioning in brain injury survivors

Computerized cognitive rehabilitation (a program to help brain-injured or otherwise cognitively impaired individuals to restore normal functioning) can improve attention and executive functioning in brain injury survivors including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke.  More



Improving Sleep Can Aid Recovery of Veterans with PTSD and TBI.

Sleep disturbance is a primary symptom of both Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and has been found to affect the severity of both conditions.  More



PTSD, TBI, and sleep problems significantly affect functional status and quality of life in veterans returning from combat.

Sleep difficulty is a primary symptom of both PTSD and TBI and has been found to affect the severity of both conditions.  More


Poor sleep may impact treatment and recovery in veterans with PTSD, TBI.

Understanding sleep problems and their role in the development and maintenance of PTSD and TBI symptoms may lead to improvement in overall treatment outcomes… More 



BUSM/VA Research Team to Study Effectiveness of LED Helmets for Treating TBI and PTSD.

This clinical trial will utilize cutting-edge technology (LED) to treat cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in returning veterans with TBI and PTSD.


April 2013

Military-personnel-webThe paper entitled “Cognitive Sequelae of Blast-Induced TBI: Recovery and Rehabilitation“ received international coverage. The publication was featured in the “Key Research Articles” edition of Psychology Progress series as a “significant contributor to the Psychology field”. Psychology Progress is an international organization providing information on the latest and most significant research in Psychology, selected by the team of experts from the top academic institutions and Psychiatric field.


October 2012

Neurology TodayOur research on recovery and cognitive rehabilitation of blast-induced traumatic brain injury was featured in October issue of “Neurology Today, an official publication of American Academy of Neurology. The article entitled “Military Expands Brain Injury Blast Detector Pilot to More Troops” describes the Blast Gauge, an experimental device that helps measure the form and extent of blast wave exposure and injury, and highlights the challenges of recovery from deployment-related TBI.


February 2012


A review of research on cognitive rehabilitation for veterans suffering from blast-related TBI and PTSD, entitled “Cognitive Sequelae of Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury: Recovery and Rehabilitation” has received recent media coverage following its publication in the latest issue of the Neuropsychology Review, 21(4). In February, the Boston University School of Medicine highlighted the findings on their news site.

February 2012

NROur paper “Cognitive Sequelae of Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury: Recovery and Rehabilitation“ was featured in February issue of The Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) on the latest International Military Health Literature.  CMVH is a collaboration of the University of Queensland, the University of Adelaide and Charles Darwin University, and Australian Defense Force and Centres of Excellence, which brings together a multi-disciplinary team of specialists, military and civilian health researchers.


December 2011

PD_picture_EPDAEuropean Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) featured the research paper by Bogdanova and Cronin-Golomb entitled “Neurocognitive correlates of apathy and anxiety in Parkinson disease“ in December issue “Rewrite Tomorrow”.  As a voice for Parkinson’s in Europe, the EPDA actively works to provide evidence based information to support the best practices and treatments, and highlights research from around the world in relation to the disease symptoms, mechanisms and treatment that can improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease.