Providing equal attention: designing control groups for intensive lifestyle interventions after brain injury

Shannon Juengst, Evan Rainey, Donna Noorbakhsh, Simon Driver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Primary objective: Interventions are needed to address chronic health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, faced by adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The objective of this narrative is to present the justification for and an exemplar of an active attention control condition as a needed comparison group in clinical trials for intensive lifestyle interventions after TBI. Research Design: Narrative review Methods and Procedures: N/A Main Outcomes and Results: Despite the historical use in scientific research, integration of appropriate control conditions to account for not only the placebo effect, but also to isolate the “active ingredients” of behavioural interventions, remains a challenge. This is particularly true for intensive lifestyle interventions, especially with the increasing use of mobile health (mHealth) to augment these interventions. Herein we describe the design, content, and implementation of a group-based, attention control condition, referred to as the Brain Health Group, as an exemplar active comparison to an intensive lifestyle intervention for weight-loss among individuals with TBI (GLB-TBI). Conclusions: Intervention studies should incorporate strong scientific designs and active control conditions to assess effectiveness and aid in replication. Following recommended guidelines, we provide an active control condition for future group-based intensive lifestyle interventions post-TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1624
Number of pages7
JournalBrain injury
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 14 2020


  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • clinical trials
  • intensive lifestyle intervention
  • weight-loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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