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Penn, CHOP, Moss Rehab, Cheyney Get $4 Million to Study Traumatic Brain Injury

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Mar 28, 2018

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are debilitating. Whether you sustain a TBI once or are dealing with the possible effects of multiple concussions, it is important to think carefully about activities that cause brain injuries and ways of preventing head trauma. Given that concussions—a type of mild traumatic brain injury—have been linked to the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers have expanded studies on brain injuries in order to develop new methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. For instance, earlier this year, The New York Times released an article in which it reported that more than 99 percent of brains of former NFL players showed signs of CTE.

Of course, football and other contact sports are not the only ways in which individuals sustain TBIs, including concussions. Head trauma can occur as a result of many different kinds of accidents, such as slips and falls or car accidents. Regardless of how the brain injury occurs, it is clear we need to devote more resources to studying TBIs in order to better prevent and treat them. According to a recent article in The Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently awarded a multi-million dollar grant to a consortium of institutions for the study of traumatic brain injuries.

$4 Million Grant for TBI Study

As the article explains, a $4 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health will be shared by five institutions in a consortium headed by Penn Medicine, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Moss Rehab, the University of Pittsburgh, and Cheyney University. The grant is designed to provide funding to researcher “to rethink how traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed and eventually treated.”

Unlike previous studies, the grant aims to fund new avenues of research that “classify damage [to the brain] based on the type and extent of physical damage” as opposed to using symptoms such as headaches or confusion to classify the severity of a TBI. The researchers from the consortium plan to develop clinical trials for treating brain injuries and, eventually, new treatments. According to Douglas Smith, the lead researcher of the study from Penn’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair, the new direction of the research will change the way we think about TBIs, their prevention, and ultimately their treatment. According to the article, Smith compared the way we currently think about TBIs to centuries-old descriptions of tuberculosis as “consumption” when doctors did not yet know that the illness was caused by bacteria. In other words, the $4 million grant could produce revolutionary ideas about TBIs.

Developing a “Real Diagnosis” for Concussions and Other Brain Injuries

Smith emphasizes that brain injuries can have many different causes, yet we currently classify them in a singular way regardless of how a person sustained that head trauma. He explained that “brain injuries can be caused by bruising, bleeding, or swelling, each of which might require a different treatment.” The research aims to provide the tools for a “real diagnosis” that clarifies how each different type of brain injury is defined and how it should be treated.

One of the major aspects of this work will involve measuring the severity of brain injuries through blood markers and neuroimaging. The research is designed to provide new insight into why some people recover quickly from TBIs while others do not. The funding will also provide for increased public outreach about brain injuries.

Discuss Your Case with a Brain Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia

Did you recently sustain a TBI in an accident? A Philadelphia lawyer can help. Contact the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. today for more information about how we assist personal injury victims.

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