Tag Archives: research

VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank’s Lisa McHale Pens Letter to the Families of the Brain Donors

The following is a letter released today by the Concussion Legacy Foundation from Lisa McHale, entitled:

A Selfless Act Can Make All The Difference

This year we have made enormous strides in the fight against the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

In 2008, I lost my husband Tom to CTE. The Concussion Legacy Foundation reached out to me, and Tom became the 2nd former NFL player diagnosed with the disease by our researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.gi_108508_figure-1

Since then, I’ve joined the team as our Director of Family Relations, where I coordinate the clinical research process and provide comfort and support for our now hundreds of Legacy Families who have made the same decision to donate the brain of their loved one.

Every day it becomes more apparent how desperately we need an effective treatment for this disease, and I’m proud to say in 2016 we have taken major steps toward this goal. Earlier this year, Dr. Ann McKee led the development of the first government criteria for the pathological diagnosis of CTE. Our brain bank allowed for a study that discovered how CTE spreads. Finally, we’ve made progress on how CTE can be detected in the living. These three advancements are crucial steps toward finding a treatment for this devastating disease.

Researchers affiliated with the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank — which has diagnosed CTE in 220 brains, accounting for over 70 percent of the world’s cases — published 11 articles in medical journals this year. In addition, over 40 research projects from around the world have used tissue shared from the Brain Bank. This includes researchers from leading institutions including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Mayo Clinic.

We never would have made this progress without the selfless contribution of our Legacy Donors (brain donors) and their families, who I have the honor of working with on a daily basis. Please take a moment and read the stories of those who make our research possible:

http://concussionfoundation.org/impacted-lives/legacy-donors

 

 

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University of Texas Picks up $50 Million to Fund Patient Care and Research in Neuroscience

James and Miriam Mulva and the Mulva Family Foundation have donated $50 million to advance neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We are pleased to establish a new and innovative neurology clinic combining UT Austin’s state-of-the-art research with advanced clinical operations for these widespread and difficult diseases that impact so many people and families,” said Jim and Miriam Mulva.

The $50 million grant creates the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, which will be located at the Dell Medical School at UT Austin. The Mulva Clinic will underwrite neuroscience patient care, research and clinical operations, with a special emphasis initially on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and bipolar disorder.

“I deeply appreciate the Mulva family’s continual support of the university and especially this transformational gift for the advancement of neurosciences across many disciplines at UT Austin,” said Gregory L. Fenves, president of UT Austin. “Their generous investment to form the Mulva Clinic will enable the Dell Medical School to expand dramatically innovative clinical services for patients deeply affected by neurological disorders while also pursuing our vision for reshaping value-based health care and overall population health.”

The Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences will grow alongside the Dell Medical School, the first new medical school to be created on a top-tier, Association of American Universities-member research campus in about 50 years. Dell Med Dean Clay Johnston, himself a neurologist, said the clinic will open a new range of services and treatments to the people of Central Texas — including low-income and uninsured patients — and reinforce the school’s transformational work.

“I have spent many years caring for people with neurological and psychiatric diseases and seen the great impact they have on individuals and their families. The Mulva Clinic will make a real difference addressing these devastating health issues that have afflicted far too many people,” Johnston said. “The gift allows us to launch on a trajectory to become a world-class center for the treatment and study of these diseases, pulling together great strengths that already exist across the university and in the community. We’re looking forward to some amazing collaborations.”

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Concussions on the Rise for Adolescents, Researchers Say

Sustaining a concussion during adolescence may be more common than previous estimates, according to researchers presenting their study recently at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO.

 “Our team looked at the administrative health records of more than 8.8 million members of a large private payer insurance group and noted that 32 percent of the individuals diagnosed with concussion were between file7841289514020the ages of 10-19 years old with the largest increase in incidence between 2007 and 2014 in that age group. This is the first study to evaluate trends in concussion diagnoses across the general US population in a variety of age groups,” said lead author, Alan L. Zhang, MD from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

The highest incidence of concussion was seen in the 15-19 age group (16.5 cases per 1,000 patients) followed by the 10-14 (10.5 per 1,000), 20-24 (5.2 per 1,000) and 5-9 (3.5 per 1,000) age groups. Overall, there was a 60% increase in concussion incidence from 2007-2014. The largest increases were in the 10-14 (143%) and 15-19 (87%) age groups. Fifty-six percent of concussions were diagnosed in the emergency room and 29% in a physician’s office with the remainder being seen in urgent care or inpatient settings.

Zhang and his team also noted that irrespective of sport, the incidence of concussion in male patients was one and a half times higher than that in female patients.

“The rates at which concussions are rising may in part be due to the rise in youth sports participation and also better diagnostic skills/training for coaches and sports medicine professionals. This trend is alarming however, and the youth population should definitely be prioritized for ongoing work in concussion diagnosis, education, treatment and prevention,” said Zhang.

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