NICHD Research Related to TBI


Largely through its National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), the NICHD has long supported research on the full range of TBIā€”from mild injuries and concussions to severe TBI that causes significant disability. The Center, through programs including the TBI and Stroke Rehabilitation Program, supports a range of basic research to understand the cellular, molecular, physiological, and biomechanical processes associated with the full scope of TBI severity. These include studies on strategies that promote neural regeneration, recovery, plasticity, adaptation, and recovery of function after TBI.

The NICHD TBI research includes investigations that could lead to new and better ways of detecting and treating concussions. Some examples include:

  • Basic research, including studies of how certain proteins and enzymes are involved in brain injury and how certain genes may play a role in neural recovery
  • Process and outcomes research, including studies on the progression of and recovery from brain injury over time and of ways to mediate long-term functional outcomes
  • Pharmacological research, including studies of individual and combined therapies that might enhance or speed recovery and interventions that might improve the physiological and behavioral side effects of TBI
  • Behavioral and social science research, including studies of how individuals, families, and communities adapt to injuries and participate in recovery
  • Secondary condition research, including studies of the relative risk and protective factors for depression and other negative outcomes of TBI
  • Focused research in unique or at-risk groups, including studies to:
    • Determine effective and safe drug therapies and dosages for treating children with TBI and mild TBI
    • Understand the best way to adapt TBI treatments for veterans and members of the military to home settings
    • Identify the best methods and technologies for measuring head impacts in youth and adult sports players and bringing these technologies to the market

Projects within the NICHD’s dynamic scientific portfolio on TBI have led to significant advances related to concussions, including several specific to concussions in football and sports

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