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Blast Injury Focus of 5th Annual Safar Symposium at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Blast-induced traumatic brain injury is one of the most common and most troubling injuries being suffered by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, traumatic brain injury accounts for nearly 60 percent of all injuries among U.S. troops. Leading experts from the public and private sector will come together to discuss the latest research in understanding and treating blast-induced traumatic brain injury at the morning session of the 5th Annual Safar Symposium, sponsored by the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and the departments of critical care medicine and anesthesia at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The symposium will be held from 8:15 a.m. until 11:50 a.m., Thursday, May 31, in room S100 of the Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, 200 Lothrop St., Oakland. Media are invited to attend.

“The injuries that our troops are experiencing now are like none we have ever seen before. While the invention of body armor has saved many a soldier’s life by protecting his or her internal organs, the armor cannot adequately protect the soldier’s brain,” said Patrick Kochanek, M.D., director of the Safar Center. “As a result, while many more will survive an attack with grenades, improvised explosive devices or landmines than would have survived in previous conflicts, more will suffer various degrees of traumatic brain injury. It is our duty as researchers and clinicians to find the best way to treat such injuries.”

Speakers at the symposium include:

Col. Geoff Ling, program manager, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury: An Overview of an Emerging Problem in Military Trauma and Terrorism

Col. James M. Ecklund, professor and chairman, Neurosurgery Program of the National Capital Consortium
Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury: Clinical Perspective from the Iraq War

Faris A. Bandak, Ph.D., professor of neurology, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Computational Biomechanics in Blast Neurotrauma

Joseph Long, Ph.D., chief, department of polytrauma and resuscitation research, Division of Military Casualty Research, and Richard Bauman, Ph.D., Systems Integrator, DARPA PREVENT (PREventing Violent Explosive Neurologic Trauma)
Rodent Models of Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury

Mr. Steve Parks, Commander U.S. Navy (retired) and president, ORA Inc.
Recent Developments in Large Animal Modeling of Blast-Induced Traumatic BrainInjury

Alia Dennis, M.D., fellow, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Combined Traumatic Brain Injury and Hemorrhagic Shock in Mice: A New Model and Novel Assessment by Perfusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Blast injury occurs when waves of pressure from an explosive device, like a bomb, grenade, land mine or improvised explosive device pass through the body. Without body armor, the pressure can cause internal, air-filled organs to rupture, most often causing death. However, with body armor, many more are able to survive such a blast, but some with injury to the brain and extremities. Currently, an important treatment for severe blast induced traumatic brain injury is a decompressive craniectomy, where a surgeon will remove part of the patient’s skull, allowing the brain to swell, and replacing the bone after the brain has recovered.

Afternoon sessions of the symposium will focus on advances in human simulation education. These sessions will be held from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. in the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER), 230 McKee Place, Suite 300, Oakland.


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