DEFENCE AGENCIES COLLABORATE ON MAJOR CONCUSSION RESEARCH PROJECT

Mar 8, 2024 | UK News

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, the University of Birmingham and the US Department of Defence will lead a major research programme involving hundreds of people across the UK in a bid to transform the way concussion is identified and managed. 

Concussion has been declared a major global public health problem, with 1.4 million hospital visits due to head injury annually in England and Wales. Some 85% of these are classified as concussion and it is also estimated that up to 9.5% of UK military personnel in a combat role are diagnosed with concussion every year.

The seven-year programme, under a contract provided by the US Department of Defense (US DoD) with potential funding of $15.5m, will analyse blood and saliva, mental health, vision, balance and sleep, and measure their ability to predict long-term complications from concussion (i.e. mild Traumatic Brain Injury – mTBI).

Some 890 people, aged 18 to 60, will take part in the study, as researchers measure effectiveness of various methods to predict outcomes of concussion after six, 12 and 24 months. It can be caused by physical impact to the head through accident, injury, sport, or even from shockwaves following explosions.

Major General Timothy Hodgetts CB CBE KHS, Surgeon General of the UK Armed Forces, commented: “UK Defence has funded the initiation of this research, but it would not be possible to complete without the support from US DoD. This is a prime example of our longstanding bilateral research collaboration where we have a common purpose to address a significant and shared clinical problem. This study will be definitive in helping us identify those who need the most help and resources following a very common injury.”

Researchers will use the UK TBI Research Network to recruit both civilian and military participants to the programme. The study will be supported by Birmingham Health Partners and University Hospital Birmingham, as well as a range of research institutions across the UK.

The research programme will bring together neuroscientists, psychologists, sport and exercise scientists, software developers and statisticians – co-ordinated by Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit. It will involve military patients and expertise from the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Stanford Hall and Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

 

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