UM unveils brain injury research


MISSOULA, Mont. - Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a serious public health problem which 2.5 million people suffered from in 2010 according to the National Centers for Disease Control.

The University of Montana is on the cutting edge of some very important research and today Rep. Steve Daines toured the facilities to learn about the latest project.

Researchers at U of M showed Daines they are determined to find a way to identify a biomarker for TBI, which would show doctors when a traumatic brain injury occurred.

They said right now even though patients appear fine and may even pass tests like CT scans, their brains are still healing.

There is no way to tell right now how long the damage can last or when it is truly safe to return to normal activity levels.

Assistant Research Professor Thomas Rau said diagnosis is extremely important in veterans returning from deployments, so they can be properly treated.

He added, "I feel very, very invested in what we are doing because this is a huge problem that people have kind of not really addressed. And it needs to be addressed especially since TBI, traumatic brain injury, is so crippling."

Rau said he has heard numerous stories of marriages failing after the changes in personalities due to TBIs.

The research on TBI biomarkers began at U of M two years ago with testing done on mice. Professors say the next phase will involve human subjects and hopefully could include veterans and Griz athletes.