GALVESTON — In the most wide-reaching project of its kind, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch are expanding their research on traumatic brain injury, examining its progressive, chronic effects on the body in hopes of treating its immediate and long-term consequences.

The project is funded by a three-year, $9 million grant from The Moody Foundation of Galveston.

While three years is not enough time to produce a cure in itself, it will produce enough data on which to base recovery treatments, which can be then be applied to further research and hopefully, in the end, a cure for this life-altering disease process, according to Dr. Donald S. Prough, chairman of the UTMB department of anesthesiology.

“What we want to do is find the basis for new cures and new treatments for TBI,” said Prough, an expert on the clinical management of patients with traumatic brain injuries and author of more than 200 papers.

Traumatic brain injury affects cognitive and behavioral functions, physiological processes and a person’s quality of life. It is linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, memory loss, depression and suicide.

“One of the biggest problems with TBI is that so far there are no specific treatments,” Prough said. “If somebody is injured, you put them in the ICU and then into rehabilitation. There is nothing to change the number of injured brain cells, to keep them from being lost and to get them to regenerate.”

Frances Moody-Dahlberg, executive director and trustee of The Moody Foundation said, “We are pleased that UTMB is working on potentially transformative research in TBI, which has long been an interest of The Moody Foundation and Moody family, from their own personal experience with TBI.”

Robert L. Moody Sr., chairman, added, “Through this grant and the research to be conducted, The Moody Foundation believes that UTMB will become a national leader in the treatment of traumatic brain injury by providing new hope for individuals and families affected by this severe problem.”

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