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Understanding the Effects of Concussions or Head Injuries Focus of Two New Research Studies at the UA Health Sciences

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Two new University of Arizona Health Sciences studies are seeking participants who have experienced a head injury or concussion within the past year or 18 months to understand the effects of head injury on the brain.

Explosive blasts, a bump, a blow, a jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms vary from one person to another, with some symptoms resolving completely, while others, especially those resulting from moderate and severe TBIs, can cause symptoms that persist, leading to partial or permanent disability.

The Concussion Study is recruiting people ages 18-45 who are right-handed, with no metal objects in their body, who have had a head injury in the past year. The concussion study involves a cognitive assessment of thinking, reasoning or remembering and emotional testing that will be assessed with one visit to the UA for a 1-hour brain scan. Participants will receive $200 for full completion of the study.

The Light Exposure Study is recruiting people, ages 18-50, who have had a head injury in the past 18 months. Participants must be right-handed and have no metal objects in their body. The study involves four visits to the UA, cognitive assessment of thinking, reasoning or remembering and emotional testing and a brief sleep test, along with two, hour-long brain scans. At home, participants must agree to wear an activity monitor, complete a sleep log and do morning light exposure. Eligible participants will receive $1,000 for full completion of all study activities.   

The studies are being conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson at the Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience Lab, known as the SCAN lab, led by William D. “Scott” Killgore, PhD, UA professor of psychiatry and medical imaging.

“We are studying how these systems may be affected by various stresses and are working to discover the effectiveness of targeted treatments and interventions for restoring optimal functioning,” said Dr. Killgore. “For example, a TBI can adversely affect a person’s quality of life in numerous ways, including cognitive, behavioral/emotional and physical effects that affect interpersonal, social and occupational functioning. In addition to the impact of TBI on the individual, TBI can negatively impact families, communities and the economy.”

Although data are limited, estimates indicate that 3.2 million to 5.3 million people in the United States are living with a TBI-related injury.

To learn more about the studies, please call 520-428-5121 or email scanlab@psychiatry.arizona.edu

An Institutional Review Board responsible for human subjects research at the University of Arizona reviewed these research projects and found them to be acceptable, according to applicable state and federal regulations and UA policies designed to protect the rights and welfare of research participants.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: http://uahs.arizona.edu. Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn

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