Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. TBIs have become the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with approximately 20 percent of veterans having reported experiencing a TBI. It is also prevalent in the civilian population. Each year, at least 2.5 million children and adults suffer from a TBI in the United States. Of those, 50,000 die and 280,000 require hospital admission, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
To ensure the future holds improved care for veterans, we at Cohen Veterans Bioscience are dedicated to fast-tracking the development of diagnostic tests and personalized therapeutics for the millions of veterans and civilians suffering from the devastating effects of trauma on the brain.
Here’s a brief overview of our programs:
Translational Toolbox: TBI Imaging Reference Library
Cohen Veterans Bioscience is supporting the development of an imaging database that will contain up to 3,000 brain scans from normal individuals to understand the background on which TBI leaves its imprint.
It is critical to understand the effects of TBI on the brain. In up to 20% of cases, even mild TBI leads to long-term cognitive or behavioral problems. Working with the American College of Radiology (ACR) Head Injury Institute, Cohen Veterans Bioscience is taking a critical first step to better understand the signatures of brain injury. Efforts are underway to recruit study centers to perform standardized MRI scans on 3,000 adult volunteers, collect demographic information and perform neurocognitive assessments. This data will form the basis for a library documenting population variation in brain structure as measured by state-of-the-art neuroimaging.
The imaging reference library will also be made available to the research community so that future efforts can add to the library and use it a resource for studying TBI.
Translational Toolbox: Cohen Brain Collection
By partnering with the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, the Cohen Brain Collection will leverage one of the largest and most well-known brain collections in the country to build a foundation for PTSD and TBI research.
Cohen Veterans Bioscience and the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center have launched the Cohen Brain Collection, the largest focused collection of PTSD & TBI human brain tissue from veterans and civilians. The Cohen Brain Collection aims to collect, manage, organize, and maintain whole brains and brain tissue samples gifted from people who suffered from PTSD or TBI and make them available to leading investigators. This initiative will accelerate research in PTSD and TBI, enabling researchers worldwide to study the molecular, cellular and morphological effects of these conditions on the human brain.
For more information, visit the Cohen Brain Collection website.
Also, check out the Cohen Veterans Bioscience webinar – 9000 Brains and Counting: Perspectives on Brain Tissue Banking – given by Dr. Sabina Berretta, Scientific Director of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center.
In collaboration with Exaptive Inc., Cohen Veterans Bioscience is building a Cognitive Network platform to create an interconnected research community in which researchers can leverage the Exaptive Xap Builder to create interactive data applications to analyze the data collected in the Cohen Veterans Bioscience data repository.
David King, the CEO of Exaptive Inc., recently conducted a TEDx talk that touches on the Cognitive Network and discusses how technology and big data can mimic exaptation – a term from evolutionary biology – to create new, cross-discipline ideas. This TEDx talk can be viewed here.
The PTSD KnowledgeMap™
The PTSD KnowledgeMap will produce a blueprint for global PTSD and TBI research!
Cohen Veterans Bioscience is collaborating with our Alliance partners – Fraunhofer SCAI and Exaptive, Inc – to build the PTSD KnowledgeMap™. This analysis and data-mining tool will improve access to research in PTSD and TBI by integrating clinical, biomarker, genetic, epidemiological and other data into one main repository. It will include easy-to-use, interactive visualizations, enabling people to search vast data in an accessible manner, and will provide new, interactive tools for those studying PTSD.
The PTSD KnowledgeMap™ will be made available to researchers worldwide in 2017, and similar efforts are planned to build a KnowledgeMap for TBI. KnowledgeMap™ will integrate with the Cohen Veterans Bioscience data repository.
Cohen Veterans Bioscience Webinar Series: The “Tau Biology Project”
Dr. Kenneth Kosik, professor and co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara, recently undertook the “Tau Biology Project” through Cohen Veterans Bioscience. Tau plays a crucial role in many neurodegenerative conditions, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease stemming from repetitive brain trauma. To learn more about the role tau plays in neurodegeneration, Dr. Kosik’s webinar can be viewed on the Cohen Veterans Bioscience webpage or YouTube channel.
About the webinar series:
The Cohen Veterans Bioscience Webinar Series is a monthly program for the brain research and systems biology communities. This series fosters an exchange of knowledge on the latest breakthroughs in the fields of bioinformatics, computational modeling, biomarker research, and nanotechnologies, and how these can accelerate the time-to-cure for brain disease.