USARIEM's Broad Scope of Studies to Shed Light on Brain Injuries

Dr. Susan Proctor

Dr. Susan Proctor reviews epidemiological data in her office.
(Photo by David Kamm, U.S. Army)

Research epidemiologists in the Military Performance Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) are currently engaged in numerous ongoing research activities that focus on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) covering three primary areas of interest.

One area of research includes strategic studies aimed at discerning risk and protective factors for TBI-related injury. These research efforts involve a unique USARIEM resource, the Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database, to characterize health-related sequelae of TBI and blast-related exposure.

The second area of research focuses on methods for assessment of and screening for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Several of these studies examine the psychometric characteristics of currently implemented computer-assisted neurocognitive screening methods for TBI and validation of these measures within military-relevant clinical samples. Other studies target development and testing of novel technologies (near infrared spectroscopy, visual tracking) for assessment of subtle neurologic impairment, including mTBI.

The third area of research includes efforts to characterize neurobehavioral outcomes, such as thinking and motor speed abilities, associated with mild brain injuries and more persistent symptoms associated with post-concussive syndrome. These studies, using either human and animal models, specifically examine the effects of single or repeated brain injuries due to blast exposures or blunt force impacts using a variety of well-established and novel measures of cognitive and behavioral function. Several of these investigations, in collaboration with local university and medical center partners, also incorporate state-of-the-art neuroimaging technologies -- including magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging -- to explore the neuropathology associated with these injuries.

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Last Modified Date: 09-Mar-2011