For quite a while, experts have described concussions and traumatic brain injuries as a “silent epidemic” affecting millions across America. Concussions usually occur when an indirect or direct blow to an individual’s head causes their brain to slam against the inside of their skull and sustain damage. These injuries can be hard to treat because they usually don’t display symptoms at the time of injury.
In some cases, symptoms can take days or even weeks to manifest, and it is often the victim’s family and friends who notice changes in personality first, such as mood swings, irritability, anger and general anxiety.
Soldiers in active combat zones are among the most at-risk group of people when it comes to brain injuries and concussions. Shockwaves from explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and land mines often generate violent forces that can cause internal injuries such as concussions without leaving physical signs.
Many soldiers leave war zones with their concussions and brain injuries untreated, opening them up to a variety of negative health outcomes in the future. The U.S. Department of Defense has now launched a grant program to fund a clinical trial on concussion treatment for active and retired members of the military. Researchers at the University of Buffalo have been granted $4.8 million by the federal agency to run trials and evaluate whether the department’s current protocol for handling concussions would be improved by integrating elements from the Buffalo Concussion Protocol.
The four-year grant, which will involve the modification of the Buffalo Concussion Protocol for use in a military environment, was awarded from the Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health Research Program, as part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.
The principal investigators will be the clinical professor and orthopedics and director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic, John Leddy, and professor of psychiatry and research director at the clinic, Professor Barry Willer. Both Leddy and Willer are from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science at the University of Buffalo.
According to the Traumatic Brain Injury’s program manager Dwayne Taliferro, the research on concussion treatment is “timely and highly relevant.” He said that the research would be critical to generating “evidence-based” knowledge that physicians in the Military Health System could use to treat concussions among soldiers.
Jacobs School dean and vice president for health sciences, Allison Brashear, noted that researchers at the institution are “honored and humbled” to take part in a study that would give them a chance to help the men and women serving the nation in the military.
A lot of funding is being directed towards biomedical research by both governmental actors and private entities such as Aditxt Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTX). These efforts are likely to yield some novel treatments that could advance the way different health conditions are treated.
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