Healthcare

Baylor Wins Federal Grant to Study Traumatic Brain Injuries

Baylor Health Care System has been awarded a $447,500 grant to research rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

The grant was one of 16 awarded nationally by the U.S. Department of Education, totaling $6.9 million. The program’s goal is to improve the lives of those trauma victims to demonstrate the benefits of a coordinated system of neuro-trauma and rehabilitation care.

“This project will support research and training that promotes goals of inclusion, integration, employment and self-sufficiency – ultimately providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities and helping them achieve their full potential,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Shahid Shafi, M.D., a clinical scholar at Baylor Research Institute and Grapevine surgeon, said the grant would fund two projects to discover new techniques to improve functional outcomes of head-injury patients.

The first will be a nationwide study to identify best practices in rehabilitation and develop evidence-based guidelines.

“Currently, more that 5.3 million Americans live with disabilities resulting from TBI. The result is an enormous psychosocial burden on patients, their families and society,” Dr. Shafi said. “The magnitude of this problem has led to numerous clinical trials aimed at improving survival or functional outcome, yet few effective therapies have been identified.”

The second would employ a special type of CT scan to identify patients who would benefit from Ritalin therapy. Shafi said all head-injury patients are prescribed the drug, which originally was intended for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, not all injury patients respond to the medication and are exposed to potential side effects. The grant also will fund communication efforts with community-based organizations that work with head-injury patients.

Shafi said that JPS and UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers also will be participate in the research effort. All three organizations will be recruiting study participants. Shafi urged DFW community groups to email him at [email protected] if they would like to become research partners.

Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at [email protected]

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