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Galveston brain injury conference looks for answers

Those of us in Texas who follow football were no doubt saddened by the loss of Junior Seau to suicide. He was reported to suffer from depression and potential brain damage due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Daniel Duerson was another National Football League player who suffered from CTE and also committed suicide with a shot to the chest so that his brain could be studied.

And there may be some of us who lost a loved one in tragic car crashes or other accidents due to a traumatic brain injury. For all of us, there was good news in Galveston recently. The University of Texas Medical Branch held a conference on the topic of brain injuries.

The conference was a combined effort between Galveston's Transitional Learning Center and UTMB's School of Health Professions' Division of Rehabilitation Sciences. The conference was attended by leading TBI specialists and experts from around the world. The purpose was to continue exploring treatments, cures and other options for those who suffer from TBI.

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control has been monitoring TBIs for some time. The CDC reports that:

  • 52,000 deaths are caused annually by TBI
  • 275,000 hospitalizations are caused annually by TBI
  • 1,365,000 annual emergency room visits due to TBI
  • Costs due to TBI in a single year is estimated at $60 billion

In addition, the CDC reports that of those in jail or prison, as many as 87 percent indicated they have experienced a TBI compared to 8.5 percent in the general population.

Hopefully a recent pledge from the Moody Foundation of Galveston will work towards solving some of these issues. The foundation pledged between $9 and $18 million in support of TBI research at UTMB.

Source: The Daily News, "UTMB searching for answers to brain injuries," Elizabeth Protas, May 13, 2012

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