Archive for October, 2010

NTI Makes the Evening News in Story about Funded Research

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

A San Antonio T.V. station ran a story tonight about Dr. Joel Baseman, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who was recently awarded a $190,000 NTI grant to study how a common pathogen sickens ICU patients on ventilators.

In the KENS 5 story, Baseman says the inflammatory response created by the toxin narrows the airway and compromises lung functioning. Eventually, he believes that new therapies can be developed to increase survival of patients at risk of contracting the infection.

UT Health Science Center San Antonio Announces NTI Grant

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

A $190,000 grant from the National Trauma Institute is enabling microbiologists and surgeons to work together to study how a common pathogen, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, affects ICU patients. Health Science Center researchers will go into ICUs around the country, where they will explore how frequently M. pneumoniae infection occurs among patients on ventilators and how it impacts their outcomes.

Joel B. Baseman, Ph.D., is the study’s principal investigator and chairman of microbiology and immunology at the UT Health Science Center. The discovery of a toxin produced by M. pneumoniae, made in Dr. Baseman’s lab and first described in a 2006 publication, laid the groundwork for this research project.

The study is just one of seven NTI funded this year. NTI supports translational research projects whose results may affect the practice of medicine in the near term.

Read the UTHSC press release.

Travel Abroad Increases Risk of Traffic Fatalities

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

“Motor vehicle crashes — not terrorism, crime, infectious disease or plane travel — are the number one killer of healthy Americans abroad, according to the U.S. State Department,” an MSNBC report confirms. The chances of being killed or seriously injured are 20 to 40 times the risk in the United States, depending on the country. A combination of distracted tourists, poorly maintained roads, unsafe vehicles, weak driver training and dangerous driving leads to the astronomical risk.

Yet most travellers are unaware of the steps they can take to increase their safety. Experts suggest avoiding taxis that do not have seatbelts, using buses only from established companies, traveling during the day, and avoiding crowded buses and trains.

A global initiative, Make Roads Safe, is working to inform travellers of the risks and educate them on what they can do to increase the odds of a safe return home.

Airbags Reduce Risk of Renal Injuries in Crash Victims

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

A study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that front impact airbags were associated with a 45.3% decrease in kidney injuries, and side impact airbags were associated with a 52.8% reduction. This is the first study to look at how airbags protect a specific organ.

Researchers conducted their analysis using data from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering (CIREN) database developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide detailed crash site analysis to further the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of crash-related injuries.

Women More Likely Than Men to Survive Traumatic Injury

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

In a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins, results showed that women between the ages of 13 and 64 are 14% more likely to survive a critical injury than are men in that same age range. The study confirms what animal models have consistently found–that higher levels of testosterone in some way inhibit survival, while estrogen is somehow protective.

“It could be that female hormones have more of an immune-enhancing effect that can be beneficial when the body is in shock but that can also go awry in other settings, given women’s much-higher prevalence of auto-immune disorders, such as lupus,” reports the L.A. Times.

The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Trauma.

Read the press release.

Washington Post Story Hits on Every National Trauma Institute Theme

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

In a story published October 17 that tracks a helicopter medical team for nearly 30 minutes–from lift-off to a pick up in the desert to field hospital delivery of the wounded–Washington Post reporter David Brown touches on every single reason the National Trauma Institute exists.

Advanced treatments have been combined with tried and true lifesaving techniques to keep the mortality rate in the current conflicts to 10% of the wounded, Brown notes, and “evolving frontline strategies…may eventually trickle down in modified form to civilian ambulances, emergency rooms and trauma centers in the United States.” NTI is a collaboration of military and civilian trauma experts and the host of the only trauma meeting that brings military and civilian entities together every year for this very purpose.

Describing the wounded soldier’s injuries, Brown points out that “[d]eath from blood loss has always been the greatest hazard of war wounds. A recent analysis found that of soldiers deemed to have ‘potentially survivable’ wounds, 80 percent died of bleeding.” The war reporter adds, “The best option – not ideal – is to stuff the gash with Combat Gauze, a battlefield treatment new to the current wars.” Indeed, the fact that there is not an ideal solution to stop massive bleeding is why NTI has made hemorrhage its number one research priority, and why we launched our first private fundraising campaign, called Stop the Bleeding, in an effort to raise funds specifically to find an ideal medical solution.

“Speed, simplicity and priority have always been the hallmarks of emergency medicine,” Brown goes on to say. “The new battlefield care that flight medics like Reece and others on the ground practice takes those attributes to the extreme.” Research has been key to many of the advances in battlefield care Brown reports on in his story.

“[Tourniquets] went out of military use more than half a century ago because of concern that they caused tissue damage. But research in the past 15 years has shown that they can be left on for two hours without causing permanent harm to limbs,” Brown says. “Now every soldier carries a tourniquet and is instructed to put one on any severely bleeding limb and not think of taking it off.” He notes that in the past eight years, tourniquets have saved at least 1,000 lives, and possibly as many as 2,000.

But trauma doesn’t just occur on the battlefield–it claims the lives of more than 170,000 Americans each year. With our federal government funding trauma research at just 10 cents for every $1.65 it spends on cancer research and $3.51 on HIV research, the National Trauma Institute’s mission is to raise trauma on the national research agenda and secure more funding from both public and private sources.

Traumatic Injury Related to ATVs Alarmingly High for Children

Friday, October 15th, 2010

According to research published in the October issue of the Journal of Trauma, hospitalizations of children with injuries related to All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) increased 150% from 1997 to 2006. Lead author of the study Stephen M. Bowman, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury and Policy, said that even though vehicles with engine sizes above 90cc are required to be labeled as inappropriate for children, it’s clear that parents are either unaware of the recommendations or chose to ignore them.

The study showed that 30% of children younger than 18 hospitalized for ATV-related injuries had a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. Bowman believes increased helmet usage is essential for curbing these injuries and also calls for a stronger effort by public health officials and the ATV industry to address the issue.

Read more about childern and ATVs.

Extremity Trauma Research Receives a $38 Million Shot in the Arm

Monday, October 11th, 2010

The Department of Defense just awarded $38.6 million to the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This is great news and a very worthwhile investment. NTI Board member and Johns Hopkins professor Ellen MacKenzie said the funding will allow the new research center to determine which treatments work well in addition to exploring bone infection, chronic pain and overall disability associated with extremity trauma.

Now, if only all the OTHER underfunded areas of trauma could gain the same level of funding and attention, the country could perhaps begin to make a dent in the rates of death and disability related to traumatic injury!

Detroit Trauma Surgeon Talks about how Poverty affects Trauma

Friday, October 8th, 2010

In a compelling slide show and story written for the Detroit News, author Charlie LeDuff profiles Dr. Pat Patton, chief of trauma surgery at Henry Ford Hospital. Patton has dedicated his life to repairing people, consistently working an average of 100 hours a week for the last two decades in one of the busiest trauma centers in the country. And it’s become busier as the economic downturn has endured and intensified.

Patton has seen the level of traumatic injuries rise in the past five years as desperate men settle financial disputes with guns, and people without health insurance wait until they’re on the brink of death before going to the hospital. Patton wonders how urban hospitals will stay afloat, given the concentration of ill and uninsured people.

As the government seeks to establish redetermined payments for services with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the true costs of treatment are unknown, adding to the uncertainty. Patton sits on a number of committees studying the issue, but he remains concerned about the outlook for inner city hospitals and the population they serve.

DoD Invests in Sangart’s MP4 Molecule Development for Trauma Applications

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The Department of Defense awarded a $1.1 million grant to Sangart, Inc. to fund pre-clinical development of the MP4 molecule, a product that can provide “targeted oxygen delivery to the capillaries in severely injured trauma patients,” according to Sangart’s press release.

The award is being issued as part of the Defense Medical Research and Development Program, which provides grants in support of research designed to advance state-of-the-art solutions for world-class medical care for U.S. soldiers.