Thursday, July 17, 2014

TBI Model System Work Featured in Four Publications

Recent work published by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Center (UPMC-TBI) demonstrates that inflammation in the first week and in the first 6 months after injury is predictive of global outcome, depression, and impulsive and/or suicidal behavior. Inflammation after TBI, and its relationship to physiological functions, is an increasingly relevant topic for patient oriented research. Every individual’s inflammatory response after injury is unique and can be affected by, among other things, previous exposure to trauma or illness, severity of injury, or individual genetic differences. Validation of this work could lead to future patient care protocols for identifying inflammatory profiles that adversely impact outcomes, personalizing treatment and monitoring, and facilitating recovery after TBI. View the publications below.

  • Diamond ML, Ritter AC, Failla MD, Boles JA, Conley YP, Kochanek PM, Wagner AK. IL-1B associations with posttraumatic epilepsy development: A genetics and biomarker cohort study. Epilepsia. 2014 Apr 22. 
    • Access the abstract here.

  • Kumar RG, Boles JA, Wagner MD. Chronic inflammation after severe traumatic brain injury: Characterization and associations with outcome at 6 and 12 months postinjury. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 Jun 4. 
    • Access the abstract here.

  • Juengst SB, Kumar RG, Arenth PM, Wagner AK. Exploratory associations with Tumor Necrosis Factor-a, disinhibition, and suicidal endorsement after traumatic brain injury.Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Jun 10. pii: S0889-1591(14)00163-9.
    • Access the abstract here

  • Juengst SB, Kumar RG, Failla MD, Goyal A, Wagner AK. Acute inflammatory biomarker profiles predict depression risk following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 Feb 28.
    • Access the abstract here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Mitchell Rosenthal Award

Mitchell Rosenthal, PhD, who passed away at age 58 in early 2007, played a significant role as a researcher, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model Systems National Data Base (NDB) curator, and program administrator in the TBI Model Systems program. While he was not at the birth of the TBI MSs, he became involved while at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan and Wayne State University, assuming in 1990 the position of Project Director for the Southeastern Michigan TBI Model System, and becoming Project Director for the National Database and Statistical Center (NSDC) in 1993. When he moved to the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center in 1999, the funding for the NDSC was moved to the Northern New Jersey Model System.

As a principal curator of the NDB, Rosenthal implemented a number of innovations to improve the quality of the data and especially to enhance the role of the TBI NDB and the TBI Model Systems program in the world of TBI research. Among the former are the creation of an online NDB syllabus and the implementation of site visits to TBI MSs. In the latter category are, for instance, the initiation of a research registry for MSs collaboration on NDB analyses, and the creation of an expanded version of “Facts and Figures,” a quarterly newsletter describing NDB information, the clinical and research programs of individual MSs, and other information of interest to clinicians and consumers. Rosenthal gave many talks at meetings of clinicians and researchers, in the United States and internationally, in which he presented the purpose, methods, and contents of the NDB. He also started a program of distributing copies of the NDB syllabus to researchers in the United States and elsewhere, resulting in emulation of the NDB, or significant components of it, in many locations.

By virtue of his role as NDSC Project Director, Rosenthal chaired the TBI Model Systems Project Directors group, which plays a central role in planning, monitoring, and evaluating all TBI Model Systems’ cooperative efforts, including the NDB, module research, and many other activities the TBI Model Systems played a role in, for example, the first two TBI Interagency Conferences. In his leadership capacity, he set the agenda for the semiannual Project Directors meeting (in consultation with NIDRR staff), chaired the group’s meetings, and followed up between meetings to make sure that the various committees and task forces performed their work and coordinated with one another.

In addition, Rosenthal was a prolific user of the NDB data. He (co)authored about 20 papers that used information from the data set to investigate topics such as the measurement of community integration, the resource cost of TBI rehabilitation, differences in outcomes between minorities and whites, and the prediction of long term outcomes in general and of employment in particular.

In 2008, the TBIMS Project Directors established the Rosenthal Award, to keep his legacy alive and inspire new generations of investigators. The award initially was given biannually to the best paper published in a peer-reviewed journal that uses NDB information to investigate some aspect of TBI, its treatment or natural history.

The Award for the 2006-2007 period was won by William C. Walker MD, Jennifer H. Marwitz MA, Jeffrey S. Kreutzer PhD, Tessa Hart PhD, and Thomas A. Novack PhD for their article “Occupational Categories and Return to Work After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Multicenter Study” (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2006, 87(12) 1576-82)

The Award for the 2008-2009 period was won by Jeffrey S. Kreutzer PhD, Lisa J. Rapport PhD, Jennifer H. Marwitz MA, Cynthia Harrison-Felix PhD, Tessa Hart PhD, Mel Glenn MD, and Flora Hammond MD for their article “Caregivers' well-being after traumatic brain injury: a multicenter prospective investigation” (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2009, 90(6) 939-46)

The Award for 2010 was won by Tessa Hart PhD, Mark Sherer PhD, Nancy Temkin PhD, John Whyte MD, PhD, Sureyya Dikmen PhD, Allan Heinemann PhD, and Kathy Bell MD for their article “Participant-proxy agreement on objective and subjective aspects of societal participation following traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 2010, 25(5):339-48)

The Award for 2011 was won by Gale Whiteneck PhD, Marcel Dijkers PhD, Allen Heinemann PhD, Jennifer Bogner PhD, Tamara Bushnik PhD, Keith Cicerone PhD, John Corrigan PhD, Tessa Hart PhD, Jim Malec PhD, and Scott Millis PhD for their article “Development of the Participation Assessment with Recombined Tools-Objective for use after traumatic brain injury”. (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2011, 92(4):542-51.)

The Award for 2012 was won by Cynthia Harrison-Felix PhD, Scott E. D. Kreider MS, Juan C. Arango-Lasprilla PhD, Allen W. Brown MD, Marcel P. Dijkers PhD, Flora M. Hammond MD, Stephanie A. Kolakowsky-Hayner PhD, CBIST, Chari Hirshson PhD, Gale Whiteneck PhD, and Nathan D. Zasler MD, FAAPMR, FAADEP, DAAPM, CBIST for their paper “Life Expectancy Following Rehabilitation: A NIDRR Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study”. (Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 2012;27(6):E69-80.)

Given the increase in the number of papers published each year, the award was made an annual one in 2013.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Model System Host a Consumer Conference

The Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS) hosted a consumer conference titled, Brain Injury: The Challenge of Change, on October 11, 2013 which was a big success. After welcoming remarks from Drs. Nancy Chiaravalloti and John DeLuca, the keynote speaker, Scott Chesney, gave an inspiring presentation drawing upon his own experience of living with a disability and finding his path in life. Other speakers presented on personal development, utility of social media in making connections, and the benefits of yoga. Dr. Chiaravalloti informed the attendees about current TBI research and presented some of the latest research findings. This was followed by a panel discussion on relationships after TBI. The conference was well attended and well received.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Congratulations to Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System

The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, home of the Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System, has been designated lead agency for planning and policy related to brain injury for the state of Ohio. The Brain Injury Program held its first meeting of its Advisory Council on October 24, 2013. The program will promote access to services, explore new options for delivery of care, and establish a traumatic brain injury surveillance system to collect information on the incidence and prevalence of brain injury in Ohio. Activities include educating consumers, professionals and policy-makers and identifying resources for individuals who have experienced a brain injury and their families.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Individuals and Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Needed for a Health Information Needs Study

Individuals with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), individuals with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Veterans with a Traumatic Brain Injury are invited to participate in a telephone interview about patients’ health information needs. 

Participants must be over 18 and will be compensated $75.

 The study is funded by the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and carried out by the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center at the American Institutes for Research in collaboration with George Mason University. 

The goal of the study is to understand the patient’s information needs to help improve the quality, clarity, and relevance of information available to individuals with a spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, and other stakeholders. 

Contact: If you are interested, please call (202) 403-5600 or email

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MSKTC Releases a New Audio Described Video for the Hot Topics Module

The MSKTC has recently released an audio described video for the Hot Topic Module: Relationships after Traumatic Brain Injury. This video is part of the hot topics module which consists of a suite of resources to help individuals with traumatic brain injury and their partners enjoy meaningful and fulfilling relationships. Access the video with audio description here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MSKTC Exhibits at 2013 Promising Practices for Healing Psychological Trauma of Service Members, Veterans, Family, and Community

The MSKTC participated in the 2013 Promising Practices for Healing Psychological Trauma of Service Members, Veterans, Family, and Community on May 10, 2013 in Fairfax, Virginia. During this event MSKTC staff displayed and highlighted the work of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems and distributed factsheets based on TBI Model Systems research. View the conference program for additional information.