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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Anthony J. W. Chen, MA, MD

Staff Physician, Neurology Service, SFVAHCS
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Neurology, UCSF


Neuroscience of Cognitive Rehabilitation

Brain injuries from head trauma and stroke affect millions of lives each year. Among the most common and debilitating consequences of brain injury is cognitive dysfunction - in particular, the disruption of an individual's ability to think, remember, and process information efficiently. These cognitive abilities are crucial for adjusting, learning, and recovering after injury. However, it is difficult to learn effectively when the brain's own ability to pay attention and retain information has been affected. Likewise, it is difficult to navigate the complexities of the modern world when the brain's pathfinding abilities have been disrupted. The central set of challenges addressed by Dr. Chen's clinical and research work is how to enhance these neurocognitive functions. In order to address these challenges, Dr. Chen recently founded the inter-institutional Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience, with a multi-disciplinary team that works to integrate basic neuroscience and patient-oriented research. In order to measure the neural bases of changes in cognitive processing during rehabilitation, Dr. Chen has developed novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approaches. He has applied these tools to studying neural mechanisms that underlie different forms of training, focusing on attention and working memory as gateways to higher level cognitive functioning. He has worked with his team to develop new tools for measuring how an individual functions in real-world settings as well. Dr. Chen has been developing theory-driven rehabilitation interventions targeting frontal systems functions, implemented by skilled therapists as well as via computer-assisted training programs. By combining these efforts, he is attempting to build a solid neuroscience foundation for new, improved interventions.

To see Dr. Chen on Pub Med, click here.