More than 2.5 million Americans have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Among these veterans, chronic problems with brain health are common, including posttraumatic stress, minor traumatic brain injury symptoms, chronic pain, and depression. These same problems are common among civilian survivors of traumatic events such as motor vehicle collision and sexual assault. For the first time, researchers from across the country will join together to comprehensively evaluate the biological basis of these disorders from the immediate aftermath of trauma, thanks to a $21-million National Institutes of Health grant. The goal is to create more effective interventions for trauma survivors.
The newly launched AURORA study, led by Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, associate professor in the departments of anesthesiology and emergency medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, has three overarching goals: to characterize posttraumatic disorders at a fundamental biological level, to determine how these disorders develop, and to develop tools that will help clinicians identify individuals at high risk in the early aftermath of trauma.
PBS NewsHour published a three-part series on PTSD, including this segment on North Carolina veterans and McLean’s efforts at the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals.
McLean is bringing together researchers and physicians from 19 institutions to enroll trauma survivors in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event.
For more PBS NewsHour content on this subject, “War on the Brain,” check their website.