Archives for March 24, 2016

Traumatic Brain Injury Summit

If you noticed I published a number of funding lines related to brain injury (concussion or as the military calls it traumatic brain injury – TBI).  Our campus Brain Interest Group (BIG) has had a number of conversation about the increased national investment in research and access to the nearby Fort’s soldier population.

Fort Leonard Wood will hold a ‘summit’ next Thursday afternoon (March 31) and Friday morning (April 1st) to work on establishing a large military – academia – industry research coalition to prevent and treat TBI. If you want to attend please contact me (


Army: Military Operational Medicine Research Program


The Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP) conducts biomedical research to deliver products and solutions to the Service member that address health and fitness throughout the Deployment Cycle. The MOMRPis centered on cutting-edge scientific research and bringing science to the Service member on the battlefield in a relevant, timely manner. The MOMRP is divided into four research focus areas:
1. Injury Prevention and Reduction
2. Psychological Health and Resilience
3. Physiological Health
4. Environmental Health and Protection

The mission of the MOMRP is to develop effective countermeasures against stressors and to maximize health, performance and fitness. The mission is protecting the whole Service member head-to toe, inside and out, at home and on the battlefield.

The four focus areas of research emphasis include the following:
a. Injury Prevention and Reduction: This area of research addresses the requirement to provide the biomedical basis for countermeasures that prevent and mitigate Service member injury and decrease attrition, medical cost, and minimize personal impact to the Service member. Specifically, this includes the need to: prevent vision and hearing loss along with blast-related injuries and training injuries; identify validated fitness for duty/”return-to-duty” standards following neurosensory and musculoskeletal injury; develop biomedically valid injury criteria and performance standards for individual (helmet and body armor) and crew protection systems; develop injury risk criteria and tools for health hazard and Service member survivability assessors; and Service member monitoring/sensor with accompanying algorithms that predict the likelihood of neurosensory, musculoskeletal, and brain injury.

b. Psychological Health and Resilience: This research area focuses on the development and validation of effective evidence-based screening and assessment strategies and prevention treatment, and cognitive rehabilitation interventions that reduce the negative impact of behavioral health disorders and concussion/mild traumatic brain injury. Research also aims to develop psychological resilience among warriors and Families to prevent negative behavioral health outcomes. Additional research areas that are often overlooked but relevant include: foundation studies to validate theories and elucidate underlying mechanisms of disorders; studies addressing co-morbidities (to include post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], concussion, alcohol and other drug abuse, sleep disturbance, and mood disorders); studies focused on enhancing implementation and uptake of evidence-based prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment techniques; research on the use of a wide variety of advanced medical technologies to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with ongoing health problems and technologies to monitor health status of every soldier for the Surgeon General’s “triad initiative” (nutrition, exercise, and sleep). Technologies include telemedicine, remote monitoring, biosensors, advance immunologic testing, health information technologies for care management and decision support and technologies for patient empowerment and education, and Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) covering a range of research areas such as acupuncture to meditation techniques, along with validation studies of CAM therapies. The objective is to identify CAM therapies and methodologies to lower dependency on medications to treat pain and mental health disorders, to include stress and anxiety. This area also supports research to support the development of strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and mitigation of cognitive dysfunction associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and war-related injuries. Research topics of particular interest include those directed at the development of a systematically applied set of therapeutic services designed to reduce cognitive dysfunction and restore functions that can be restored and/or assist individuals in compensating for the impact on daily living when functions cannot be restored to pre-injury level.

c. Physiological Health: This area of research develops biomedical countermeasures to sustain Service Member health and operational effectiveness, including: state-of-the-art policy, training, and materiel solutions to establish, sustain, optimize, and monitor Service member health, physiological resilience, cognitive abilities throughout training, deployment, reset, and injury recovery cycles. This research aims to prevent or mitigate the effects of physiological stressors on the performance and fitness of Service member. Studies include use of dietary supplements, and nutritional and behavioral interventions to mitigate threats to operational health and performance. Research also aims to develop advanced biomedical modeling and networked physiological status monitoring capabilities, healthy sleep and fatigue management strategies, individual differences in sleep loss resilience, and individualized resilience to various operational stressors. Technologies and strategies to monitor and promote Service member and family health to support the Surgeon General’s Performance Triad are of interest.

d. Environmental Health and Protection: This area of research area includes assessment and sustainment of health and the operational effectiveness of Warriors exposed to harsh operational environments including altitude, cold, heat, and exposure to environmental health hazards. In addition, this research includes development of policy, training, planning/management tools, materiel solutions, interventions and reset solutions, to sustain warrior resilience, health and operational effectiveness to environmental stressors; additional research identifies biomarkers of exposure to environmental health hazards and development of hand-held, fieldable devices for rapid identification of exposure effect biomarkers in bodily fluids in support of military operational requirements.

The MOMRP supports research toward solving critical problems facing the Army today and in the future. Service- and platform-specific issues are addressed through close coordination with Navy and Air Force counterparts to prevent duplication of effort.

NIH: Secondary Analysis of Existing Databases in Traumatic Brain Injury to Explore Outcomes Relevant to Medical Rehabilitation (R21)


The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support secondary analyses of existing databases that have been established from clinical trials, survey studies, or natural histories in traumatic brain injury (TBI). These databases offer opportunities to explore questions about survival, progression, rehabilitation and recovery.

HHS: Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program


The overall purpose of this funding is to: 1) decrease and prevent injury and violence related morbidity and mortality and 2) increase sustainability of injury prevention programs and practices. This will be achievedthrough support to State Health Departments (SHDs) in the implementation, evaluation and dissemination of programs, practices, and policies with the best available evidence (see Glossary for best available evidence definition). Strategies that address injury and violence prevention (IVP) through the lens of shared risk and protective factors are encouraged to promote maximum impact of limited resources. Required strategies will align with NCIPC priorities related to child abuse and neglect, traumatic brain injury (TBI), motor vehicle crash injury and death, and intimate partner/sexual violence.

Army: Integrated Protective Headborne Equipment and Injury Diagnostic/Assessment Tools


Head borne protection for the individual combatant involves protection of the head (to include the eyes, neck and throat) against fragmentation munitions, handgun projectiles, blunt trauma impact, and behind armor effects including injuries caused by kinetic energy and blast waves. New materials, designs including modeling and simulation design tools, survivability models, treatments and diagnosis technologies are required to meet this broad range of threats while also providing in-depth consideration to the appropriate ergonomics, comfort, hearing, mission requirements, thermal/vapor management and other cognitive functions necessary for the combatant to fully execute their operational duties without extensive physical or mental impairments.New diagnostic and assessment tools/methods that medically evaluate the combatant are needed in order to more fully characterize specific warrior populations at risk and requiring further clinical intervention. In order to support this requirement new diagnostic and assessment methods and tools for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are required. In addition, research data needs to be collected in a systematic manner for the various services, compiled and analyzed in order to develop a baseline for a requirements document. The injury data is a key element in developing treatment and diagnosis tools and new protection/survivability models so that troops maybe better protected in future engagements and injuries treated at the front lines.

A comparison of current capabilities versus future battlefield requirements dictates interest in the following major areas of scientific knowledge and technological capabilities. Technology is needed for
– new and improved polymers for fiber reinforced plastics and resins which can provide increased ballistic protection and lighter weight;
– new fibers and materials for energy absorption and moisture vapor permeability/cooling management;
– transparent materials for enhanced eye protection without reductions in visibility;
– improved lightweight integrated communications devices;
– engineering designs which incorporate enhancements to combat helmets including area of coverage, field of view, modular attachment points, speech recognition, and compatibility with existing equipment and improved hearing capabilities;
– modeling and simulation tools for material/armor system designs; and
– modeling and simulation survivability design tools including bio-mechanics and injury prevention/diagnosis models.

A need also exists for the following:
1. Novel modular designs and integration concepts to identify the best technical approach to provide head protection to the individual combatant against multiple ballistic and nonballistic threats – such concepts should identify ballistic protection capabilities for each component and area of the head to be protected; upon identification of critical design elements further efforts should establish the feasibility of systematically combining those modular components into a lightweight head borne system of approximately three and a half pounds providing a high level of protection against the identified threats and high level of user comfort
2. Unique and novel design approaches, which utilize the currently fielded equipment and developmental items as a base platform for incorporating modular components for improved ballistic/blast protection and would offer the user the ability to tailor the level of protection to the current threat by adding or removing modular integrated components (i.e., face shield, eye protection, neck protection)
3. Unique and novel design approaches for protective assemblies, which provide maximum area of coverage and ballistic resistance capabilities – these systems could weigh as much as six to eight pounds and encompass the entire head; this type of approach will require attachment designs and bio-mechanic studies to determine the best means for carrying the system weight on the shoulders or other parts of the body and be capable of allowing the user to tailor the level of protection to the anticipated threat by adding or removing modular integrated components
4. Ergonomic and human factor studies to identify key parameters for user acceptability – the identified design(s) include studies, laboratory data and human evaluations for heat stress retention, stability, ability to fire weapon systems, maneuverability and general form, fit and function of proposed design
5. Modeling and simulation design and material evaluation tools which provide engineers and medical personnel the appropriate human interface information necessary to mitigate injuries from a variety of threats encountered on the modern battlefield
6. Characterization and surveillance of, and mitigation of, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), primarily within military personnel
7. There is a need to match evidence-based services to the needs of deployed personnel, and to allow the Navy Surgeon General and the Medical Officer of the Marine Corps to provide accurate psychological health information; specifically, there is a critical need for surveillance to determine the prevalence of psychological health problems and TBI in expeditionary Sailors and Marines, particularly in high-risk populations such as infantry
8. Other topics pertaining to psychological health relevant to TBI are develop a core body of knowledge in compassion fatigue; evaluate the need for telemedicine; educate professional on those affected by disease or addiction; develop course on how to use pharmacotherapy treatment and non-pharmacological intervention; standardize a Neurocognitive and Combat Stress Toolbox; develop a portable head-neck CT scan for use in patient transport; study ocular signs of TBI; develop the Navy Reserve’s Psychological Health strategic plan; develop critical skills related to individual and family emotional regulation, problem solving, communication, and accessing support; develop assessment and treatment program for the families of Wounded Warriors; develop an outreach program for Marines; provide mental health case managers and oversight for each Wounded Warrior Battalion; train support staff at USMC HQ; enhance knowledge and skills on non-mental health caregivers to recognize combat related symptoms; train mental health providers on the techniques and interventions necessary to decrease combat operational stress; provide on-site training for OSCAR team members prior to deployment; investigate negative expectations about disclosing combat experiences; develop website for self-management intervention employing empirically derived cognitive-behavioral therapy; develop pre-deployment training for psychological first aid; etc.

New Jersey: Brain Injury Research Grant: Programmatic Multi-Investigator Project Grant


The goals of this program are (1) to encourage investigators to undertake research on neural protection, repair and regeneration after traumatic brain injury; (2) to encourage individuals to undertake research on theeffectiveness of clinical interventions for traumatic brain injury; and (3) to enable researchers with novel scientific and clinical ideas to test them and develop pilot data needed to develop a programmatic area of research that can be supported by additional funding from the National Institutes of Health, and other funding sources.

The NJCBIR is committed to accelerating research to develop effective interventions and cures for the disabilities associated with traumatic brain injury. Primary objectives are:
– To advance the field of brain cell repair and regeneration in the New Jersey research
community by encouraging established scientists to apply their expertise to the brain.
– To foster collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to brain injury research.
– To develop models of neural repair and regeneration that establishes a basis for
additional scientific investigation.
– To develop models of neural repair and regeneration after brain injury that can lead
to clinical interventions.
– To stimulate epidemiological analysis of the New Jersey TBI Registry data in order to
improve injury prevention, develop treatment guidelines and enhance patient outcomes.
– To promote dissemination of the research findings generated by those scientists supported
by the NJCBIR.
– To develop and evaluate clinical interventions that lead to improved treatment and function
after TBI.

Defense: TBI Community Partners in Suicide Prevention


The intent of the Community Partners in Suicide Prevention Outreach and Education (CPSPOE) is to address Section 706 by supporting outreach and education to such members, their families and caregivers, and the publicabout suicide prevention, mental health and substance use disorders and traumatic brain injury that relate to research on the causes, development, and innovative treatment of mental health, substance use disorders, TBI, and suicide prevention in members of the National Guard and Reserves, their family members, and their caregivers.

The focus of the CPSPOE is on outreach and education only; proposed projects should NOT include other research or treatment efforts. Outreach and education should be carried out by or in collaboration with community partners. Community partners as referenced in Section 706 are private non-profit organizations or institutions that engage in (1) research on the causes, development, and innovative treatment; (2) identifying and disseminating evidence-based treatments; and/or (3) outreach and education for mental health, substance use disorders, TBI, and suicide prevention in members of the National Guard and Reserves, their family members, and their caregivers.

Army: (MRPRA): Military Risk Factors Research Award


The intent of the FY15 Military Risk Factors Research Award (MRFA) is to facilitate high-impact, systematic, population-based research investigating the association between TBI and the subsequent development of AD.Applications should describe how the association of TBI and subsequent AD will be characterized. Applications should also describe how the proposed study will work with well-defined, already identified study cohorts. Applications should carefully consider how their studies will characterize the cognitive and behavioral symptoms that result in functional impairments in the proposed cohort. Studies that use combinations of measures (e.g., neuropsychological assessments, imaging, genomics, and cerebral spinal fluid) are encouraged. Applications that develop interdisciplinary teams or consortia as part of the support plan for executing the research are encouraged.

Applications must detail and demonstrate expedited access to a well-defined, already identified study cohort. Preliminary data that supports how the cohort will be used in the study is also required. The preliminary data must strongly support the proposed research hypothesis (or hypotheses).

Army: (MRPRA): Quality of Life Research Award

see notice

The intent of the research funded through the FY15 Quality of Life Research Award (QUAL) is to reduce the burden on caregivers and individuals affected by the common symptoms of both TBI and AD, especially in themilitary community.

Overarching Challenges: This QUAL funding opportunity requires applications to address one or both of the following PRARP Overarching Challenges:
– Quality of Life: The need for technologies, tests, interventions, epidemiological studies, or devices with the potential to benefit individuals suffering from common symptoms of TBI and AD.
– Caregiver Burden: The need for technologies, tests, interventions, epidemiological studies, or devices with the potential to reduce caregiver burden for individuals affected by the common symptoms of TBI and AD.

In addition to addressing one or both of the specified Overarching Challenges, applications must also address at least one of the following FY14 PRARP Focus Areas in support of the specified Overarching Challenge(s). An application that proposes research outside of these Focus Areas is acceptable, as long as the applicant provides a strong rationale:
– Care Interventions and Quality of Life: Research intended to stabilize or improve the quality of life of those affected by the common symptoms of TBIand AD. Examples of research in this focus area include:
– Cognitive Training Interventions
– Studies of Health and Wellness
– Behavioral Interventions
– Neuropsychological Interventions

Caregiver support: Research intended to reduce the burden of care on the caregiver for individuals affected by the common symptoms of TBI and AD. Examples of research in this focus area include:
– Caregiver Training
– Home Based Support
– Behavioral Interventions
– Relationship Interventions

While the QUAL mechanism can be used to support clinical research, the following is specifically discouraged under the FY14 PRARP:
– Pharmacologic Interventions: Clinical or Basic research requiring investigational or FDA-approved drugs or medicines.
– Drug Discovery and Development: Clinical or Basic research directly leading to the development of investigational medicines, drugs or agents.

Army: Peer Reviewed Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program: Convergence Science Research Award


The PRARP (formerly the Militarily Relevant Peer Reviewed Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program) was initiated in 2011 to address the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as they pertain to Alzheimer’sdisease (AD). Military personnel and other individuals who suffer from TBI face an increased risk for developing several long-term health problems. These conditions include Alzheimer’s-like dementia, aggression, memory loss, depression, and symptoms similar to those of other neurological diseases. The PRARP is devoted to (1) understanding the association between TBI and AD; and (2) reducing the burden on affected individuals and caregivers, especially in the military and Veteran communities. Support for these objectives is anticipated to be delivered by the research community through a combination of mechanistic and preclinical studies.