It has been estimated that more than 270,000 American service members have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000. During that time, the U.S. government, the DOD, the VA, Veteran advocates and the American public have been seeking ways to prevent and treat TBI.
On July 9, 2014, in its most recent campaign to effect change on the TBI front, the Pentagon announced it will be funding a $22.5 million research project to be conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.
For the project, Penn researchers will measure brain activity as patients participate in mental tasks such as memory games, and will try to determine what type of electrical patterns their brains display related to memory. The prospective patients will already have had electrodes implanted in their brains, treating such neurological ailments as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
The Penn research team hopes to use the data to target a dose of mild electricity to induce the patient’s brain into a more desirable functioning state.
The Pentagon, who usually doubles up on everything to ensure mission success, has already implemented a similar project at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). So far, the UCLA research has indicated that the project at Penn’s will succeed.
Along with treating war Veterans who have suffered brain injuries, the research could be used to treat civilians with TBI as well. There is also hope that data from this research could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
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Military Connection: DOD Taps Penn for TBI Research: By Debbie Gregory