The Long Haul for New PTSD/TBI Research Projects

Initiatives may take more time than vets struggling with these conditions have to spare.

President Obama has announced new research projects focused “on developing more effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat mental health conditions like TBI and PTSD.”

Obama described the new initiatives at the Disabled American Veterans convention on Saturday. “I’m not going to be satisfied until every veteran and every man and woman in uniform gets the support and the help they need to stay strong,” he said. 

Based on a fact sheet put out by the White House on the $107 million in projects to address traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, that satisfaction will come well after he leaves office at the earliest.

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments will set up two research projects over the next six months:

  • The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP), a collaboration led by the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio and other medical centers, seeks to discover and develop “biomarkers” that can be useful for diagnosis and for the development of therapies.
  • The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), a collaboration led by Virginia Commonwealth University, will study the links between concussions, chronic mild TBI, neurodegeneration, and related conditions.

Over the next year researchers will develop a more precise system for classifying TBI to enhance diagnostic accuracy and treatment, along with research for the president’s BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative.

A key task is a multiagency effort to create a set of data identifiers, known as common data elements, to deal with PTSD and TBI, but that has a completion date of between two and four years. It will also take the same amount of time to identify biomarkers, genomic sequences and complete brain circuitry studies.

So, if you’re a vet, don’t hold your breath waiting for an immediate PTSD or TBI cure from this research – which may take more time than vets struggling with these conditions have to spare before they become grim statistics.