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VCU Will Lead $62M Traumatic Brain Injury Study

Monday, August 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has been awarded a $62 million federal grant, the largest in it’s history, to oversee a national research consortium of universities, hospitals and clinics that will study what happens to service members and veterans who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions.


The concussions that will be studied include both combat injuries, such as those from blasts and bullets, and civilian injuries, such as those from car accidents, sports injuries and falls.  The research is expected to continue for five years, with information available as early as the six-month mark.


"The magnitude of traumatic brain injury research at VCU, and all the neurosciences for that matter, has laid the groundwork for a grant like this," said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president of VCU Health Sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System. "The research across the rehabilitation medicine spectrum, particularly as it relates to traumatic brain injuries and military personnel, was the springboard to this research grant.


The principal investigator on the grant is David X. Cifu, M.D., chair of the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and executive director of VCU's Center of Researcher Sciences and Engineering (CERSE).


"This project is specifically designed to develop an understanding of the linkage between concussion/blast exposures and chronic effects, comorbidities and neurodegeneration in service members and veterans with combat-related TBI exposure,” Cifu said. "The project will also assist in providing current and future care, guide the development of novel interventions to prevent or mitigate cognitive and behavioral decline and contribute to long-term planning for service member and veteran needs and benefits.”


According to Department of Defense grant materials, this is the first program that brings together more than 30 of the most experienced brain injury scientists and doctors from the VA, the military and universities to work on the same set of problems. The network is set up to allow for a better understanding of why some people get bad symptoms after a brain injury and others do not, what can be done for those people who continue to have these problems, and what can be done to prevent some of the long-term problems, including dementia, that some service members and veterans develop later in their lives.


The overall award is the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, but the CENC that Cifu will head up for the consortium is the Military and Veterans Injury Recovery and Rehabilitation Network, or MAVERICK.

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