Taking a play from the playbook of the National Football League, the US Military has created a “Brain Bank” repository program for the study of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in veterans called the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Tissue Repository for Traumatic Brain Injury. The donations are entirely voluntary and the study is not allowed to approach family members of the deceased to request donations to the study.
Since the study launched in June of 2013, the program has received numerous requests for information along with brain donations. The lab is attempting to collect several hundred brains from soldiers with and without a history of TBI. The goal of the research is to study the sections of the brain that are most susceptible to damage, as well as possible symptoms related to those damaged areas.
Per a recent article in Forbes magazine, Dr. Daniel Perl, the director of the repository cautioned “against the impulse to lump soldiers and football players together before the repository research is completed. Football players may bash their heads on a regular basis, but they aren’t exposed to explosions. And though tau accumulation, the buildup of protein linked to brain degeneration, has been seen in both football players and soldiers, Perl says these findings are limited. In the study, tau accumulation in the brains of former service members were individuals who also experienced TBI as civilians, stemming from sports injuries and car accidents. “It’s important for us to not just say, ‘Okay he’s got tau, he’s like a football player.'”
Discovery of the similarities and differences between combat trauma injuries and those found in the NFL studies could prove to be very interesting.
Click here to read the article in Forbes.