Dr. Robin Green's program of research addresses brain and behavioural mechanisms of recovery from moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her lab has shown that in addition to beneficial mechanisms that support recovery, there are deleterious mechanisms in the sub-acute and chronic stages of injury giving rise to cognitive, mood and neural deterioration. Her lab has re-conceptualized TBI as a chronic and possibly neurodegenerative disease process; this novel conception is needed in order to identify parallels with other forms of neurodegeneration, which will offer new avenues of treatment. The lab has also focused on identifying modifiable (“post-injury”) factors that contribute to degeneration, focusing on the hippocampi in particular. They have identified that elevated anxiety and reduced cognitive stimulation are both associated with hippocampal volume loss. A converging program of research concerns progressive degeneration and accelerated aging in the later stages of multiple concussions, for example sustained in the context of professional contact sports such as football.
Dr. Green is currently engaged in the development of interventions to mitigate the accelerated aging that is observed in the later stages of TBI by targeting modifiable mechanisms. The treatments are delivered remotely, in order to achieve reach (e.g., into Northern Ontario and across provinces) and to achieve scale. Treatments are both delivered by therapists, in group format online or are self-administered. These treatments are currently being considered for other populations at risk of accelerated aging.
Recently, Dr. Green has started up a centre for remote delivery of clinical care through participation in research. The centre focuses on patients with enduring effects of brain injury, and will expand to other neurological populations in the future.