Last weekend, President Barack Obama was in Orlando, Florida and issued an executive order asking for additional research efforts for fighting post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, two conditions often associated with current and former soldiers. According to Military News, Obama also discussed the establishment of two consortia with the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans and a few universities to conduct more research on the best ways to tackle the diagnosis and treatment of the two conditions. The two efforts are called The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium.
According to a Department of Defense press release, The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, which will be spearheaded by the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center and the Boston VA Medical Center, will “attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognosis, novel treatment and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD.” Currently, every VA Center has specialists who treat PTSD, and these efforts could help them provide better care for PTSD patients.
Like the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium is a collaboration between a few institutions: Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Richmond VA Medical Center. The researchers will “examine the factors which influence the chronic effects of and common comorbidities in order to improve diagnostic and treatment options.” The researchers would also like to put more focus on the relationship between mild TBI and neurodegenerative disease. Neurodegenerative diseases are a broad range of conditions that affect movement or mental functioning in an individual, according to JPND. These problems are caused by the degeneration or the death of specific neurons in the human brain. Neurons are usually unable to repair or replace themselves, so neurodegenerative diseases are incurable. Some examples of neurodegenerative diseases include Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
The consortia efforts will occur over a five year period. The two programs cost a combined $107 million.