Traumatic Injuries to the Brain and Spinal Cord

Conservative estimates indicate that, in 2003, there were 1.5 million cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States, resulting in 51,000 deaths, 290,000 hospitalizations, and over 1 million emergency room visits. The incidence of TBI is especially high in children under the age of 14, many of whom participate in contact sports such as football, hockey, and lacrosse. Today, approximately 3.2 million individuals are living with long-term disabilities as a result of TBI-related injuries. Based on recent work by the Purdue Neurotrauma Group (PNG), it has become clear that these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg. Chronic neurophysiological changes resulting from head trauma affect more than 70% of a typical high school football team.  As a result, the Centers for Disease Control noted that TBI is no longer a silent epidemic, but something that has the potential to affect people of all ages and all walks of life. In order to prevent these injuries and improve treatment outcomes it is necessary to develop (1) methods for the early identification of neurophysiological changes, (2) the ability to identify which anatomical structures and cell types are injured, and (3) interventions designed to prevent or treat the injuries.

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Poole, V.N., Abbas, K., Shenk, T.E., Breedlove, E.L., Breedlove, K.M., Robinson, M.E., Leverenz, L.J., Nauman, E.A., Talavage, T.M., and Dydak, U. MR Spectroscopic Evidence of Brain Injury in the Non-Diagnosed Collision Sport Athlete. Dev Neuropsycho. Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 459-473, 2014.

Abbas, K. Shenk, T.E., Poole, V.N., Breedlove, E.L., Leverenz, L.J., Nauman, E.A., Talavage, T.M., and Robinson, M.E. Alteration of Default Mode Network in High School Football Athletes Due to Repetitive Subconcussive Traumatic Brain Injury: A Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. Brain Connect. Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 91-101, 2015.

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