The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has announced a $2.37 million grant to the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science in support of research on the lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries.
Using the Adult Changes in Thought study as a sample set, researchers will investigate what goes wrong in the brain after a traumatic brain injury and whether such injuries lead to corresponding disorders and complications. To that end, study data will be loaded into the Allen Brain Atlas Web portal, giving researchers around the world free access to the TBI data. Derived from a nearly two decades-long study of aging in people leading normal lives in the Seattle community and made available through a partnership with Seattle's Group Health Research Institute, the ACT sample set is unique because it allows scientists to compare and contrast TBI samples with control samples.
In addition to determining the effects of TBI on the brain, the study seeks to understand the relationship between TBI and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer's and Parkinson's; identify and characterize TBI-specific changes using state-of-the-art technology; and determine how brains are impacted at the molecular and cellular level by TBI-related neurodegeneration. The primary investigators leading the project are Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen and Dr. Dirk Keene of the University of Washington and Dr. Ed Lein of the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
"The 'perfect storm' of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with TBI and PTSD, and the increased recognition of concussion in youth and professional sports, has inspired neuroscientists to better understand the short- and long-term consequences of TBI," said Ellenbogen. "The Allen Foundation has generously funded a unique collaboration between some of the leading scientific institutions in the Northwest to answer the timely and much asked question of who is at risk of neurological consequences after a TBI, one of the most common injuries worldwide."