Mayo Clinic researchers found that improvement of mood over the course of post-acute brain rehabilitation is associated with increased participation in day-to-day activities, independent living, and ability to work after rehabilitation is complete.

Each year, millions of patients are diagnosed with acquired brain injuries, such as concussion, strokes and brain tumors, many of whom go on to have persistent symptoms. For these patients, brain rehabilitation is an important part of their recovery.

"People should not ignore psychological issues, such as mood swings or ability to communicate with family members," says Thomas Bergquist, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic's Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Psychiatry and Psychology. "Comprehensive brain rehabilitation can address both physical and personal problems to help improve outcomes for patients, including improved physical function, the ability to live independently and maintain a job."

Dr. Bergquist recommends a holistic approach to brain injury rehabilitation. Focusing solely on physical function, for example, represents, "medical myopia and care givers might miss the biggest problem," he says.

The study examined data on patients who have gone through treatment at Mayo's Brain Rehabilitation Center, receiving therapies from a team of providers which are customized to the specific needs of each individual. Mood was assessed at the beginning and end of treatment, and researchers found that improved mood was associated with improved brain rehabilitations outcomes. The findings were presented during the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Conference.

"My advice to patients is to get help as soon as they are limited by their symptoms. If you experience a brain injury and are struggling with mood, communicating with family, or performing physical activities, you are likely to benefit from coordinated brain rehabilitation services," says Dr. Bergquist.