Led by healthcare professionals, GE and the NFL have announced a four-year, $60 million collaboration to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. Called the ‘Health head Initiative,’ the objective of this research initiative is to “is to improve the safety of athletes, members of the military and society overall.”
$40 million will be allocated to a four-year R&D endeavor to evaluate and develop next generation imaging technologies for the purpose of improving diagnosis that would allow for targeting treatment therapy for individuals with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Additionally, the NFL, GE and Under Armour launched a two-year open innovation challenge with an investment of up to $20 million in research and technology. Again, the purpose of this funding is to better understand, diagnose and protect against TBI.
The Chairman and CEO of GE Jeff Immelt stated, “GE is a leader in developing sophisticated diagnostic imaging technology, but for all the advances in science our knowledge of the brain is far behind that of nearly every other organ in the body. With this initiative, we will advance our research and apply our learning to sports-related concussions, brain injuries suffered by members of the military and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Advancing brain science will help families everywhere.”
NFL Commish Roger Goodell added, “Jeff and I have had many conversations over the years about business and the game we both love – football. The future of our great game is bright. The NFL has made tremendous progress in making the game safer and more exciting. But we know we have more work to do. Our collaboration with GE and Under Armour and the launch of the innovation challenges puts us on an accelerated path to progress with experienced scientists, academics and entrepreneurs dedicated to developing game-changing technologies that will benefit athletes, the military and all members of society.”
Key Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) biomarkers for potential diagnosis, outcome prediction, and therapy management for patients with mild traumatic brain injury will be undertaken to map the brain. Contributions from medical professionals such as Dr. Thomas McAllister, Millennium Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Director of the Section of Neuropsychiatry and Vice Chair for Neuroscience Research for the Department of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and Fellowship Director of Neurological Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital, are just two of the physicians participating in this research.