PA Consortium on TBI

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The PA Consortium on TBI will greatly expand educational and outreach programs to bring awareness of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and promote TBI prevention. Multidisciplinary and world-renowned team members hail from four esteemed Pennsylvania institutions: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania (Douglas Smith, MD, grant-awarded principal investigator), University of Pittsburgh, and Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute.

Their overarching goals are to improve diagnosis, management, and treatment of TBI using techniques that can be utilized to identify neuropathologically and neurophysiologically relevant brain changes after TBI from mild to severe. At present, there is no prognostic method for identifying, at an early and potentially treatable stage, the small subset of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) cases with negative head CT findings that nevertheless develop brain damage and persistent dysfunction.

In this project, team members from CHOP and Penn aim to determine the utility of serum blood biomarkers in establishing a diagnosis for mTBI or concussion. In particular, the role and extent of diffuse axonal injury in concussion outcomes will be examined, with hopes of potential utility to be detected in the same individuals who will have persisting neurocognitive defection following concussion.

Research Project Highlights:

  • R01 NIH/NINDS: Objective Translational Multi-domain early concussion assessment. The major goal of this project is to identify objective diagnostic metrics, determine sports settings with highest load exposures, relate rapid head rotation magnitude and direction to short-term outcomes, and elucidate biomechanical injury thresholds, and age- and sex-based risk factors for concussion.
  • NCAA-DoD: CARE Consortium for Concussion. The major goal of this project is to collect baseline measures on University of Pennsylvania varsity athletes and, if they sustain a concussion, repeat those measures and follow them longitudinally.
  • PA DOH: Integrative Science to Advance Pediatric Concussion Diagnosis and Treatment. The major goal of this project is to advance knowledge of mTBI in youth via 1) a field study using head-impact sensors to assess the effect of sub-concussive head impacts in middle school youth athletes on cognition and brain function, 2) rodent model development of mTBI diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutics; and 3) diagnostic brain imaging studies of concussed adolescents.
  • R41 NIH/NINDS: A software tool for objective identification of concussion-related vision disorders using a novel eye-tracking device. The goal of this proposal is to validate the use of objective eye-tracking in identifying and diagnosing vision disorders associated with concussion.

AMSSM Clinical Research Network: Aerobic Exercise Intervention in Acute Recovery Phase after Concussion: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The goal of this proposal is to determine the efficacy of early aerobic exercise in treating acute concussion.