by Rajshri on  September 13, 2008 at 6:31 PM Mental Health News
 Nationwide Study Of Posttraumatic Stress and Brain Injury to Be Led by UCSD
A nationwide study to understand the mechanism behind post-traumatic stress disorder has been launched in the United States.

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) School of Medicine will lead a $60 million, five-year, 10-site Clinical Consortium funded by the Department of Defense Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program (DoD PH/TBI) to conduct studies leading to the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), two prevalent but poorly understood battlefield-related disorders that affect millions of individuals, both military and civilian.

Murray B. Stein, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego and Staff Psychiatrist at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Health System (VASDHS), will direct the multi-center Clinical Consortium. Ronald G. Thomas, Ph.D., Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine and Neurosciences and Director of the Division of Biostatistics at UC San Diego, is co-principal investigator of the Consortium.

This nationwide network of study sites will test new therapies to prevent illness and enhance recovery in individuals at risk for adverse psychological, emotional and cognitive outcomes resulting from a traumatic injury, and for individuals who have already developed chronic neuropsychiatric problems because of an injury. The program will also focus on the short- and long-term symptoms caused by mild head injuries, which Stein says are not well understood in the treatment of military or civilian populations. The multi-center project is part of a $300 million commitment by the DOD to "prevent, mitigate, and treat the effects of traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury on function, wellness, and overall quality of life for service members as well as their caregivers and families."

"PTSD/TBI research has its roots in medical disciplines that study brain function, brain injury, and changes in cognition and behavior, each using very different methods," said Director of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Captain E. Melissa Kaime, M.D. "The DOD PTSD/TBI Clinical Consortium will bring neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and psychologists together pooling their best tools and information to considering the full spectrum of clinical care needed for recovery of our service men and women."

"A recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) lamented the lack of efficacious treatments for PTSD, and the same could be said for TBI. The Clinical Consortium aims to contribute substantially to help fill these gaps," said Stein. "We will bring together specialists at academic research centers, VA hospitals, and active military sites nationwide to help us understand what happens to people who suffer traumatic injuries, including mild head injuries such as concussions. This will help us design treatments that can most appropriately address the needs of people who develop PTSD and TBI... and, hopefully, even find ways to prevent them."

In addition to overseeing the Clinical Consortium, UC San Diego Medical Center is also one of the participating study sites, with Raul Coimbra, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and director of the UC San Diego Division of Trauma, Burns and Critical Care leading the San Diego TBI/PTSD Clinical Research Center. The nine other participating centers are based at academic, Veterans Affairs, and military centers at Dartmouth College, Duke University, Madigan Army Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina/University of South Carolina, Spaulding Rehabilitation/Brigham Women's/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, University of Cincinnati, University of Maryland, and University of Washington.

"This is an exciting opportunity to do not only cutting edge clinical research but to make a difference in the lives of the many individuals and families in our own community who have been devastated by the consequences of injury in general and TBI and PTSD in particular," said Coimbra

"The men and women who have bravely served our country deserve the highest quality of care, including those veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries," said U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). "This $60 million in federal grant funding will help launch a clinical research center formed by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine -- designed to improve our understanding and treatment of PTSD and TBI. This new clinical research center will serve as an important resource for the thousands of active-duty service men and women and the more than 250,000 veterans located in the San Diego area."

Source: Newswise

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