Archive for October, 2009

Painting of Burned G.I. — A Reminder of How Far We Have to Go

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Retired Army Sgt. Richard Yarosh will be the first Iraq war veteran to be immortalized at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., a fitting tribute to a man who gave everything but his life for his country. His life-size image will join those of other great Americans at the gallery in November. Yarosh was badly burned when his vehicle struck an explosive device while he was on patrol in Iraq.

Yarosh represents thousands of veterans who continue to return from war horribly disfigured due to burns. Unfortunately, burn treatments have a long way to go before there is any hope of burn victims reclaiming their lives and former countenances. This is why NTI made burn treatment one of its priority research areas–there is so much to do and so many people to help.

Development of skin replacements would reduce scarring and scar contraction to promote better rehabilitation. Other promising properties of new skin include stronger and more flexible wound covering, the ability to re-grow hair follicles and the presence of sweat glands, which promotes better body temperature control.

Much research needs to be done before new skin is a reality–we are doing all that we can to get such research funded so that it bears fruit in time to benefit our returning service people.

MSNBC.com Posts Rarely Seen Photos from Military Trauma Centers

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

In an online feature called Behind the Front Lines, MSNBC.com sheds light on the realities of war trauma. Taken by MSNBC photographer Erin Trieb over a six-week period, these images starkly convey the situation trauma surgeons and nurses face while on the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq. While disturbing, the images pay homage to the heart-sickening work of our brave men and women–both those in uniform and those in scrubs–and highlight the horrors of war. Watch the slide show.

HHS Awards $17 Million for Hospital Acquired Infection

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Pledging $17 million to study the eradication of dangerous infections that people pick up while in health care settings, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has highlighted one of NTI’s research priority areas.

One of the most common complications of hospital care, hospital acquired infections (or health care-associated infections, HAIs) affect nearly 2 million patients and contribute to 99,000 deaths a year in the United States. For someone to survive a traumatic injury only to be felled by an infection he or she picked up while being treated is the greatest irony. We at NTI are extremely pleased to see HHS focusing on this critical need.

Eight million dollars of the award will fund an expansion of the Keystone Project to all 50 states, which shows great promise in reducing the rate of central-line blood stream infections. The remaining $9 million will go to several other high-priority projects focusing on:
-Reducing Clostridium difficile infections
-Reducing overuse of antibiotics
-Eliminating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
-Implementing teamwork principles for first responders
-Much more

To see more details and a complete list of the institutions and projects funded by the HHS grant, go to: www.ahrq.gov/qual/haify09.htm.

New Report on Concussions Highlights Safety Risks, Even At High School Level

Monday, October 26th, 2009

If you’ve been following this blog or the work of the National Trauma Institute, you realize just how pervasive trauma injury can be. One area of trauma that’s been receiving attention of late is traumatic brain injury as related to concussion — especially on the football field this season, with high-profile players like Florida quarterback Tim Tebow among those diagnosed with concussions.

This recent New York Times article highlights the dangers of concussions — and, in some cases, resulting traumatic brain injuries — for college and even high school players. The article details what has happened to some of these amateur football players in recent years, and points to recent research findings.

While traumatic brain injury is only one of many categories of trauma injury, the growing awareness of the long-term dangers of TBI highlights the need for trauma research across the board. As the number one killer of Americans ages 1 to 44, trauma is a serious problem that manifests in unexpected ways — be it a devastating car crash, a commonplace fall, or a collision during a high school football game.

National Trauma Institute Announces $600,000 In Research Grants

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The National Trauma Institute announced a milestone last week: The organization has garnered enough funding to offer $600,000 in grant money to researchers exploring a number of areas related to trauma. The full version of the press release is viewable on the Reuters website here.

The announcement is significant, of course, because NTI’s primary mission is to fund trauma research that changes practice and saves lives, and its first Request for Proposals signals that NTI is beginning to fulfill its mission. It’s also significant in that the funds come from Congressional appropriations, in large part due to the work of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rep. Lamar Smith. NTI finds it encouraging that federal funding is beginning to be directed to the important work of trauma research. Through this process, NTI will see proposals from a number of prominent researchers.

For those interested in applying for the funds, pre-proposals are due Friday, October 30.

NTI Sponsors ACS COT Paper Competition

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Along with the College of Surgeons, the Eastern and Western States COT, Region 7 COTs, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the National Trauma Institute is funding the 2010 Resident Trauma Papers Competition. The competition will be held during the Committee on Trauma’s annual meeting March 10-12 in Las Vegas.

As just one of many ways that NTI supports trauma research, the competition rewards the best original research in the area of trauma care or prevention. Regional competition winners will present their papers during the Scientific Session of the annual meeting, during which national winners will be announced. Those papers winning national recognition are eligible for publication in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

For more information on the competition including submission deadlines, general surgery residents, surgical specialty residents and trauma fellows should visit the ACS website at: www.facs.org/trauma/traumapapers.html.