Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Research Event

04 Aug Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Research Event

HMRI Awarded U.S. Army Grant for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Military Models Will Help in Everyday Falls and Sports Injuries

The U.S. Army has awarded a three-year, $2.7 million grant for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) research to Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI). The Molecular Neurology Program directed by Dr. Michael Harrington, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Program directed by Dr. Brian Ross, and the Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Laboratory are collaborating on this research project.

Joining Dr. Harrington as Co-Principal Investigator is Captain Warren S. Merrifield, Ph.D., from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Prior to his career with the US Army, Dr. Merrifield was an MEG investigator at HMRI.

Huntington Hospital’s Emergency Medicine Department is also participating with HMRI in this very important study that started in May, 2013.  Dr. Robert T. Goldweber is serving as the investigator on behalf of Huntington Hospital.

Definitive diagnosis of mTBI and development of effective treatments for combat-related mTBI are of growing interest to the military. Labeled the “signature injury” of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, many of the mTBIs are the result of exposure to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). These blast-related injuries usually involve being struck by a blunt object, or injury from the subsequent fall or motor vehicle crash.

Since there is little clinical difference between blast- and impact-induced mTBI, the design of the study will focus on impact-related injuries immediately after the event. The study will involve 200 civilian volunteers selected through the Emergency Medicine Department of Huntington Hospital following treatment for mTBI, as well as non-head injuries as a control group.

The research study will gather data to understand how the brain functions after a mTBI. Assessments in the study will include anatomical and functional brain-mapping techniques, neurocognitive performance (computer-based tests), balance testing and levels of biomarkers (blood protein levels).

The incidence of mTBI in the private sector has gained more attention in recent years. The National Football League, National Hockey League and other sports organizations are in need of better neurocognitive protocols to assess athletes. Scientists with HMRI anticipate that data gathered from this research will benefit not only military medicine, but provide new medical models in sports medicine and other mTBI accidents, including falls among older people.

On Thursday, June 27th, HMRI hosted a program of the Medical Research Council that focused on the study.  You are invited to watch the presentations:


Captain Warren S. Merrifield, Ph.D.
mTBI Project Co-Principal Investigator
Senior Scientist, MEG Laboratory
National Intrepid Center of Excellence
Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center, Bethesda, Maryland
Watch opening remarks (link)
Watch video presentation (link)



Michael G. Harrington, M.B., Ch.B, FRCP
mTBI Project Co-Principal Investigator
Director, Molecular Neurology Program
Huntington Medical Research Institutes
Watch video presentation (link)




Robert T. Goldweber, M.D., F.A.C.E.P.
mTBI Project Associate Investigator
Residency Director,
Department of Emergency Medicine
Huntington Hospital
Watch video presentation (link)




Brian Ross, M.D., D. Phil (oxon), FRCS (Eng.) FRCPath
mTBI Associate Investigator
Director, MR Spectroscopy Lab
Huntington Medical Research Institutes
Watch video presentation (link)