Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium kicks off during Super Bowl week

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More than 10,500 Minnesotans are living with paralysis from a spinal cord injury and 100,000 are living with disabilities from brain injury. No matter what the cause – whether it’s from a slip on the ice, a ladder fall or a car crash – these injuries are life-changing for patients and their families.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 1:00-5:00pm the first annual Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium will showcase new and innovative research funded by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Grant Program. The Grant Program funds research to discover treatment and rehabilitation with the aim of improving function in people with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. The Symposium takes place at the new HealthPartners Neuroscience Center, 295 Phalen Blvd. in St. Paul.

“Without a doubt, the path to hope for these courageous patients is research,” explains neurosurgeon Uzma Samadani, M.D., Ph.D., Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for TBI Research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), one of the moderators at the Symposium. “As a researcher, surgeon and clinician, it’s truly an honor to uncover interventions that will make an impact on the way we diagnose and treat these types of injuries.”

The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance and Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis worked with Minnesota legislators in July of 2015 to pass funding legislation for this program. Funding is split 50/50 between research focused on spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. To date 21 research projects have been funded and will be showcased at the symposium along with select patient testimonials. In the next two years the Grant Program will award a total of $6 million for research.

Senator John Hoffman and Representative Tony Albright, who supported the legislation, will open the symposium followed by researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. In addition, speakers from Prevent Biometrics and TackleBar football will address current issues surrounding concussions.

Collaborative Minnesota partnerships like the ones featured at the Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium are leading the way toward critical medical discoveries. For more information go to www.mnscitbiresearch.com/

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HCMC launches clinical trial to treat brain injury using vagus nerve stimulation

“Electroceutical” Treatment Hopes to Stimulate Brain Healing Without Medications

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Dr. Molly Hubbard, lead investigator of the VANISH TBI study examines a 3D hologram of the injured patient’s brain. The image was generated by Dr. Abdullah Bin Zahid in the HCMC Brain Injury Research Laboratory.

A simple slip on the ice while crossing a parking lot in downtown Minneapolis triggered the problem for 47-year-old John Doe (not his real name). By the time emergency medical personnel arrived he knew his own name, but did not remember falling, the date, or even where he was.  “I didn’t even know what had happened until I had been in the hospital for three days,” he said.

Brought into Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), John had classic brain injury, with tiny amounts of blood on the surface of his brain and interspersed into its folds. Radiology studies were consistent with brain trauma, but the injury was not severe enough to require surgery. Several days after the accident he moved into the brain injury rehabilitation unit at HCMC.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to get back to my normal life. It’s … hard to believe that this is my life. A lot of symptoms are starting to get better but they’re still there. I have problems remembering words,” said John, who works as a professional writer.

Luckily for John, HCMC, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, has just launched a new clinical trial to treat brain injury, and he was the second patient to be enrolled.  He remarked, “I really like the idea of being able to help others with brain injury; maybe even help people who have it worse off than me.” Continue reading “HCMC launches clinical trial to treat brain injury using vagus nerve stimulation”