VA Seeks Projects on Brain-Injury Diagnostics
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is requesting R&D project proposals on diagnostics for traumatic brain injury (TBI) to help soldiers wounded in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA’s Office of Research and Development says TBI often includes damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Mild TBI (mTBI), which can be caused by impact, blast trauma or acceleration-deceleration, is the most common combat-related injury. “The full extent of damage from mTBI as determined by imaging and other approaches needs further evaluation,” the agency request says.
Areas of particular interest to the VA include refinement and validation of the following technologies to detect mTBI:
- Diffusion tensor imaging, which is used to study white matter fibers in the brain;
- MRI, a method using magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the body;
- Functional MRI, used to study brain activity and working memory; and
- Positron emission tomography, a technique that uses injected radiopharmaceuticals to study organs’ metabolism and function.
Also qualifying for the program are projects to develop neuropsychological tools to help diagnose mTBI and projects that use imaging to study how TBI rehabilitation techniques affect neural plasticity.
Through its merit review funding process, the VA will grant $150,000–$300,000 per project, Laurie Tranter, a VA spokeswoman, said.
The agency’s announcement on the research program is available at www.research.va.gov/funding/solicitations/docs/TBI.pdf.