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Rice University gets $1.5 million grant for brain injury lab

We've written previously about the need for more clinical research and expanded insurance coverage for brain injury victims. People who suffer traumatic brain injuries typically have a long and difficult road to recovery. Therapy and treatment are expensive, and brain injury patients and their families need all of the medical and financial help they can get.

Good news, then, that Rice University in Houston is opening one of the few labs in the U.S. that will focus efforts on understanding how brain injuries affect people's behavior. This kind of work is necessary to making the proper treatment more readily available to patients in Texas and throughout the country.

In particular, the lab will stand out from others because of its combined research emphasis on studying people who have suffered brain damage and people with normal brain functions. The Rice professor leading the research team said that brain plasticity -- the term given to changes in the brain over time -- will be a primary point of interest. These changes in brain function may occur because of epilepsy, stroke, brain injury or even changed behavior and environment.

A grant of $1.5 million was given by the T.L.L Temple Foundation in Lufkin to create the lab, which will also be the first such research lab of its kind in the Texas Medical Center. The facility will have 6,000 square feet in which university and TMC researchers can collaborate.

So much more needs to be done to improve treatment and quality of life for brain injury patients. The physical struggle isn't the only one faced by families of people with brain injuries, and family members need to be aware of every legal option for providing care for their loved ones.

Source: Houston Business Journal, "Rice to create lab to study brain damage with $1.5M grant," Bayan Raji, April 16, 2013

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