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DoD, NIH Partner to Create TBI Research Database Cont.
- Categorized in: Battlefield Medicine, Department of Defense (DoD), NIH, October 2011, PTSD, TBI, Trauma
Even diagnosing a TBI can be a difficult proposition, with sufferers going weeks or months before physicians discover that an injury has occurred.
Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta may help provide a tool to quickly and accurately assess the severity of TBI and help deliver proper therapy.
With a new $2.2 million, five-year grant from NIH, Michael Frankel, MD, director of Grady Memorial Hospital’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center, and his team are studying biomarkers in the blood of TBI patients. If TBI results in a predictable pattern of biomarkers that changes with injury severity, then a simple blood test could tell clinicians if a patient has suffered a TBI and how severe it is.
One of the consequences of TBI is the breakdown of tissue and a release of proteins into the bloodstream. Previous studies have shown that the presence of such proteins can correlate with outcome after TBI. This suggests that such biomarkers can potentially help determine the severity of the injury.
Preliminary studies have shown this could be the case, with blood levels of four types of biomarkers doing better at predicting the extent of injury than the standard Glasgow Coma Scale combined with CT scan.
Frankel and his team hope to validate the use of such biomarkers with the current study. Their patients will already be enrolled in an ongoing NIH-funded study — the Progesterone for Traumatic Brain Injury, Experimental Clinical Treatment (ProTECT) III trial. This Phase III study is assessing the use of progesterone in 1,140 TBI patients at 17 centers nationwide.
The Emory team will study the biomarkers in patient blood samples while they are being treated with progesterone. By studying the relationship between progesterone levels, serum biomarkers, and the injury itself, researchers hope they will find ways to better treat and understand TBI.
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