The U.S. Defense Department has established was it is calling the world's first brain tissue repository in an effort to understand more about traumatic brain injuries(TBI) to members of the armed services.
The Pentagon will attempt to collect several hundred samples for the repository. They will seek permission from the families of deceased service members to collect specimens.
"We have been at war for more than a decade and our men and women have sacrificed," said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense. "The military health care system is bringing all the resources it can to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries and to ensure that service members have productive and long, quality lives."
The Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Tissue Repository for Traumatic Brain Injury was established in Bethesda, Md.
It is being funded with a federal grant to advance the understanding and treatment of TBI in service members.
The goal it to address how head trauma leads to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a neurodegenerative disorder that involves the progressive accumulation of a protein in nerve cells within certain regions of the brain. As the protein accumulates, it disturbs function and appears to lead to symptoms seen in affected patients such as boxers and football players with multiple head trauma.
Service members exposed to blasts "are coming home with troubling, persistent problems and we don't know the nature of this, whether it's related to psychiatric responses from engagement in warfare or related to actual damage to the brain, as seen in football players," said Dr. Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist and director of the brain tissue repository.
For information on donation to the brain tissue repository email CNRM-TBI@usuhs.eduor or call 855-366-8824.