A research group co-led by UCLA to improve the assessment and treatment of concussions in school-aged children received a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the university announced Thursday.
The grant was provided by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to further the work of the Four Corners Youth Consortium. The consortium, co-led by the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, will conduct a multistate study of more than 1,300 children and teens, including about 240 in Southern California.
According to the group, the study will use brain imaging and blood tests to explore biological markers such as blood pressure, heart rate and pupil reactivity that might be able to predict which children will develop persistent symptoms after a concussion.
“We are excited to launch this innovative investigation into concussions, which remain a serious public health concern for our nation’s youth and their families,” Dr. Christopher Giza, a professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Using objective tests to accurately predict recovery can lead to earlier, more effective interventions and serve as a foundation for innovative new treatments.”
Program officials said nearly one-third of the 3 million Americans who are diagnosed with concussions each year have symptoms that persist for three months, including migraines, memory problems, anxiety and depression.
Other institutions taking part in the study are Children’s National in Washington, D.C., Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington, the University of Rochester, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Wake Forest School of Medicine, Indiana University, the National Institute of Nursing Research, the University of Arkansas, USC and the University of Utah.