Allen Family Foundation Funds TBI Research
Researchers will try to correlate head injuries with later health problems through the two-year, $2.4 million study.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has given $2.4 million to a team of Seattle researchers to study traumatic brain injuries and how they affect the individuals' health later on, The Seattle Times and several other Seattle news organizations reported Nov. 21. Their reports, including one linked from the foundation's website, indicated the money will fund a two-year, study by scientists from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science to examine donated brain tissue at the structural, cellular, and molecular levels, looking for changes related to TBI. They'll look for connections with subsequent problems, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.
The research is particularly relevant now because of TBI concerns surrounding professional football players – Paul Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks team – and military personnel. A contribution from Allen established the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003, so he has been interested in brain research for some time.
A CDC study estimated 53,014 deaths per year that were associated with TBIs occurred in the United States from 1997 through 2007, for a rate of 18.4 per 100,000 population. While the overall rate of TBI-related deaths decreased during that period, the study's authors noted it remains a significant public health problem. The leading external causes of TBI were incidents related to firearms, motor vehicle traffic, and falls.
The U.S. Army is also involved in TBI research. Earlier this year, Brig. Gen. Dr. John M. Cho, deputy chief of staff for operations with Army Medical Command, said the Army is participating in a $60 million research study for TBI that is sponsored by the National Football League, General Electric, and Under Armour, according to an Army News Service report.