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Research Into Innovative Treatment Ideas For Traumatic Brain Injury | NEWS-Line for Long Term Care Professionals

Research Into Innovative Treatment Ideas For Traumatic Brain Injury


Source:

To treat a traumatic brain injury, researchers are thinking outside the box.

“A traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe, but is usually caused by a harsh bump or blow to the head,” says Kevin Ward, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine and biomedical engineering at Michigan Medicine and director of the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care(MCIRCC).

“A patient may experience a moment of dysfunction on the mild end, to unconsciousness and loss in brain function on the severe end of injury.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TBI is a serious public health problem in the United States. In 2014, there were approximately 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deathsthroughout the nation.

“Unfortunately, the current diagnosis, monitoring and treatment strategies for TBI have not significantly progressed over the last 30 years and have been ineffective at reducing the extent of the injury,” Ward says.

Massey TBI Grand Challenge

Thanks to funding from the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation, MCIRCC hopes to improve treatment and survival rates for patients that experience a TBI. The Massey family had their own experience with TBI after a car accident injured mother and wife, Joyce Massey.

“Funding from the Massey Family Foundation has allowed us to institute the Massey TBI Grand Challenge,” Ward says.

“The Grand Challenge aims to bring interdisciplinary teams together to create high-risk, high-impact, milestone-driven solutions that address the golden hours of care, or the treatment administered during the initial hours after injury, plus the 24 to 48 hours of care after a severe traumatic brain injury.”

The funding also allows MCIRCC to host the Joyce Massey TBI Summit each fall. The conference brings together the nation’s leading experts and researchers to discuss the most pressing challenges facing TBI care and how to work together to find innovative solutions.

The Massey TBI Grand Challenge encourages researchers to come up with “innovative and disruptive” TBI solutions and pitch them to an independent panel of clinicians, innovation and commercialization experts, national TBI experts and Department of Defense representatives.

“All of these great minds come together to push past the borders of typical TBI care,” Ward says. “What starts as an idea, evolves and starts to take shape. Then the team participates in our Wolverine Den, or a U-M version of Shark Tank,pitching day with research behind their idea and support that it should be funded, as it could help potentially guide future treatments.”

Five projects were selected for funding this year:

Using light wavelengths to target cells

Thomas Sanderson, Ph.D., an associate professor of emergency medicine and molecular and integrative physiology at Michigan Medicine, says that while the molecular events happening in the body during a TBI are complex and can vary, mitochondria, or the organelles in cells that help them stay energized, appear to be a common contributor to brain injury.

The research team proposed a non-invasive therapy that uses light wavelengths to target mitochondria and alter the molecular events happening inside cells during a brain injury.

Project and researcher: Evaluating Non-Invasive Mitochondrial Modulation in a Translational Model of TBI; Thomas Sanderson, Ph.D.

Valproic acid in TBI patients

Valproic acid is a type of medication generally used to treat patients with epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. Now, researchers hope it could be used to treat TBI.

The funded project will further investigate if valproic acid can successfully be used to treat patients with TBI and if so, the funds will help support an Investigational New Drug application.

Source:Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Photo Credit:Michigan Medicine




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