Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Brain Injury and Repair

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In the News

2018

Teenagers’ Brains Make Them More Prone to Addiction

About 36 percent of high school students say they have tried marijuana, and 14 percent say they’ve misused prescription opioids. Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, explains why experimentation with drugs and alcohol is particularly dangerous for teenagers, as they are more susceptible to addiction than adults. 

PhillyVoice

 

Modified Poliovirus Tested in Glioblastoma

A modified poliovirus may improve overall survival in patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive and usually fatal brain cancer. Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery, notes that while the results are intriguing, follow-up studies are needed.

Cancer Discovery

 

Five Questions on the Brain Cancer That Took John McCain

When Sen. John McCain died on Aug. 25, he was hailed for his courage and tenacity in his fight against the brain cancer that took his life – glioblastoma, one of the most difficult brain tumors to treat. Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery, spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer about glioblastoma and ongoing research to find better treatment options.

Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Penn Medicine Treating Glioblastoma Using Patient’s Own Immune System

Following the death of Senator John McCain, CBS3 spoke with Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery, about ongoing research to find better treatments for glioblastoma – the cancer that claimed the lives of McCain, Beau Biden, and Phillies great Darren Dalton. O’Rourke discussed testing CAR T-cell therapies to treat patients with glioblastoma.

CBS3

 

Traumatic Brain Injury Tied to Increased Risk of Suicide

People who have traumatic brain injuries may be nearly twice as likely to die by suicide as individuals who don’t have a history of injuries like concussions, a recent Danish study suggests. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD, director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center, co-authored an accompanying editorial about the study in JAMA and spoke on the findings.

Reuters Health • HealthDay News

 

Statin Shows Promise as Alternative to Surgery for Chronic Brain Bleeds

Reuters Health spoke with Neil Malhotra, MD, assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Surgery and the vice chair of operations in Neurosurgery, about findings from a phase 2 trial showing that atorvastatin, a statin commonly used to lower cholesterol levels, appears to be a safe alternative to surgery for some patients with chronic subdural hematoma. Malhotra said an oral medication that dramatically reduces the need for long-term surgery would be an important development.

Reuters Health via MDLinx Neurology

 

Can Zapping People’s Brains Really Reduce Violent Behavior?

Researchers found a noninvasive form of brain stimulation may reduce a person’s likelihood to engage in aggressive acts. “The results inform our understanding of the neural basis of the intention to commit violent acts and also demonstrate that it is possible, at least theoretically, to modulate that kind of intent using noninvasive neural modulation,” said Roy Hamilton, MD, MS, an associate professor of Neurology and director of the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation.

Healthline

 

Car T-Cell Therapy ‘Quite Promising’ for Glioblastoma

HemOnc Today interviews Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, an associate professor of Neurosurgery and a member of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, about the promise of CAR T cell therapy in the brain cancer glioblastoma.

HemOnc Today (Healio)

 

How to Get the Most Out of Summer for Your Teen

Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, shares advice on making the most of summer for teens. The teenage brain is in a unique stage with some very specific strengths and weaknesses, Jensen explains. Using this knowledge can help the teen make the most of the precious summer months by exploring managing responsibilities, for example.

Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Seizures May Damage Learning Capacity

Spectrum highlights research suggesting that seizures early in life render brain circuits incapable of supporting learning during critical periods in development. The study, led by Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, add to a body of evidence that suggests early-life seizures exacerbate features of autism.

Spectrum

 

Targeting Multiple Pathological Proteins May Be Key to Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases

Rare Disease Report highlights recent findings from a study published in Brain calling for more combination therapies for treating neurodegenerative diseases. “Historically, the focus of most clinical trials has been on targeting the primary pathological proteins of a given neurodegenerative disease, but we see now that many of these disease-related aggregated proteins affect most older patients across a full spectrum of clinical and neuropathological presentations,” said senior author John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Institute on Aging.

Penn Medicine News Release • Rare Disease Report

 

Quick Physical Intervention Stopped Violent Intentions – Could It Stop Violence?

Coverage continues to highlight recent Penn research showing that minimally invasive electrical currents on the prefrontal cortex can reduce the desire to carry out physical violence. Study co-author Roy Hamilton, MD, MS, an associate professor of Neurology and director of the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation, is quoted, discussing the possibility of this kind of brain stimulation.

CNN • PhillyVoice • Tech Times • Futurism

 

Could a Therapy for Brain Damage Also Decrease Violent Impulses?

Multiple outlets spotlight new Penn research showing that using minimally invasive electrical currents on the prefrontal cortex can reduce the desire to carry out physical and sexual assault and increase the perception that such violence is morally wrong. The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience this week. Roy Hamilton, MD, MS, an associate professor of Neurology and director of the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation, said the results “may be the first step towards helping people with pathological levels of aggression,” but cautions that “we are a long way from being able to apply this.”

Penn Medicine News Release • Philadelphia Inquirer • Washington Post • Forbes • Newsweek • The Guardian • Business Insider • New Atlas

 

First Cuba, Now China: Penn Studies Mysterious Brain Symptoms

The State Department issued a health alert last week to American citizens living or traveling in China and advised them to seek medical attention if they experienced “auditory or sensory phenomena” similar to those experienced by U.S. government personnel in China and Cuba. Multiple outlets reference that affected individuals were examined by Penn faculty. Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, is quoted.

New York Times (1) • New York Times (2) • Washington Post • USA Today • Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Bioengineer Takes Big Step Forward in Radical Approach to Treating Neurodegeneration

Research by D. Kacy Cullen, PhD, associate professor of neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine, could aid patients with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Penn Today

 

Seizures in Children Could Trigger Brain Networks Tied to Autism

A new study led by Frances Jensen, MD, chief of Neurology, and published in Cell Reports this week, notes that early-life seizures often activate synapses that may contribute to neurodevelopment delays in children. Jensen notes this is proof of principle that synaptic plasticity is a dynamic target for the treatment of autism and intellectual disabilities that accompany early-life seizures.

Penn Medicine News Release • PhillyVoice

 

What We Know About the Possible ‘Sonic Attacks’ in Cuba and Now China

CNN reports that a U.S. government employee stationed in China felt sensations of sound and pressure, similar to the government employees stationed in Cuba last year. Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and Randel Swanson, DO, PhD, an assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who published research this winter in JAMA detailing symptoms in patients exposed in Cuba, are quoted.

CNN

 

‘Sustainable Funding’ Needed to Attack Opioid Crisis

The Hill hosted an event about the opioid epidemic and youth prevention. Frances Jensen, MD, FACP, chair of Neurology, discussed why adolescents are more vulnerable to addiction, explaining, “They can get addicted harder, longer, stronger, faster, and yet they don’t have a frontal lobe to talk back to them to say ‘that’s a bad idea, don’t do that.”

The Hill

 

Veteran Study Reveals Even Mild Case of Traumatic Brain Injury May up Dementia Risk

Researchers found that veterans with mild traumatic brain injury who did not lose consciousness were 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia than their counterparts without brain injury. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center, writes that this study provides the best information to date that show U.S. veterans face higher risk of dementia as a result of sustained head injuries.

Tech Times

 

Mild Brain Injuries Tied to Increased Dementia Risk

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD, director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center, provided commentary on recent research about the link between milder brain injuries and cognitive decline. The data suggests that there is a higher incidence of dementia after a head injury of any severity.

Reuters Health

 

Summer Break For the Teen Brain

WCAI’s “Living Lab Radio” spoke with Frances Jensen, MD, chair of Neurology, about how to make the most out of a teen’s summer break and how to help the teenage brain grow and gain the necessary skills for daily critical thinking. Jensen recommends parents teach teens how to be adults by having conversations about their summer, discussing goals, and uncovering their priorities.

WCAI (Massachusetts)

 

Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady on Helmets, CTE, and TB12

At this week’s Milken Institute 2018 Global Conference, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discussed the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the NFL and his regimen of cognitive exercises. Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, notes that there is no evidence that brain games can protect against trauma, as Brady seems to suggest.

Quartz

 

A Cuba Without a Castro

An opinion piece in The Globe and Mail from ambassador Vicki Huddleston, who served under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, summarizes America’s struggle with Castro’s Cuba. The article mentions the recent assessment of the 24 U.S. officials for concussion symptoms by Douglas Smith, MD, Vice Chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair.

The Globe and Mail (Canada)

 

Zeroing in on Brain Injury Damage

Patients who’ve suffered from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have changes in tiny blood vessels in their brains that researchers believe are linked to a range of cognitive symptoms. The study was led by Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD, director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center. The findings may help doctors pinpoint specific types of TBIs and tailor personalized therapies.

Penn Medicine News Release • 6ABC (Clip) • UPI

 

Canadian and American Officials in Cuba Hit By ‘Directed Energy,’ U.S. Doctor Says

Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, comments on the Canadian and U.S. officials who developed a concussion-like condition after hearing unusual noises in their homes and hotel rooms in Cuba.

Toronto Star

 

I Feel Pretty: Could a Head Injury Change Your Body Image?

New York magazine’s “The Cut” features expert commentary from Douglas H. Smith, MD, the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and a professor of Neurosurgery, about the effects a head injury could have on your personality, as it relates to Amy Schumer’s newest movie, I Feel Pretty.

The Cut

 

Scientists Can’t Explain Why Diplomats in Cuba Are Suffering from ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’

Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, is quoted in a Washington Post report on the group of U.S. government personnel who developed a concussion-like condition after hearing unusual noises in their homes and hotel rooms in Cuba.

Washington Post (login required) • Miami Herald • Toronto Star

 

Human Brain Organoids Thrive in Mouse Brains

After human mini-brains were implanted into the brains of mice, the tissue developed blood vessels and became integrated into neuronal networks. “The function of the brain arises not just from interactions between individual neurons, but also from the combined activity of groups of neurons arranged in specific structures,” said Han-Chiao Isaac Chen, MD, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery.

The Scientist

 

Canada Sending Home Families of Diplomats in Cuba After Cases of ‘New Type’ of Brain Injury

CBC News reports on moves made by Canadian officials to limit government personnel’s family members from living with them during postings in Cuba. Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, comments on Penn Medicine’s evaluation of U.S. government personnel who experienced concussion-like symptoms after hearing loud noises in their homes or hotel rooms in Havana.

CBC News (Canada)

 

Brain Development: How It Changes at Every Life Stage

Newborns have about 100 billion neurons, meaning the average rate of growth of brain cells during pregnancy is about 250,000 new brain cells per minute. A slideshow from Reader’s Digest discusses 50 more incredible facts about the development of the human brain. Frances Jensen, MD, FACP, chair of Neurology, is quoted.

Reader’s Digest

 

ALS Study Changes View of Brain Immune Cells Role in Progression

The lab of Virginia Lee, PhD, director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, found that some immune cells in the brain can protect it from the damaging effects of faulty TDP-43 protein, preventing the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in mice.

Penn Medicine News Release • ALS News Today

 

More Details But No Answers in Brain Trauma Cases of U.S. Diplomats in Cuba

Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery, and Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, are quoted in continuing coverage of their study of a group of U.S. diplomats who developed a concussion-like condition after hearing unusual noises in their homes and hotel rooms in Cuba.

PRI • Los Angeles Times • 6ABC • New York Post

 

Penn Doctors Find Neurological Damage in Americans Who Served in Cuba

A Penn Medicine team published a paper in JAMA detailing the results of their evaluation and treatment of a group of U.S. government employees serving in Havana, Cuba, who experienced persistent memory and thinking dysfunction, as well as vision and balance problems, after hearing unusual noises in their homes and hotel rooms. The team was led by Douglas Smith, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and Randel Swanson, DO, PhD, an assistant professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Penn Medicine News Release • Associated Press via SF Gate • ABC News • CNN • Washington Post • Miami Herald • Gizmodo • The Verge

 

Are Women’s Brains More Susceptible to Concussions?

Douglas H. Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, is featured in a BBC World Service “Health Check” segment during which he details the specifics of his study examining whether women’s brains are more susceptible to concussions.

BBC World Service (starts at 17:38)

 

Penn Researcher Receives $4M State Award for Multi-Institution Effort to Transform Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury. Partners Include CHOP, Pitt, Moss Rehab, and Cheyney

Douglas H. Smith, MD, the Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $4-million, four-year PACT (PA Consortium on Traumatic Brain Injury) award from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to lead a multi-institution effort to transform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Penn Medicine News

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2017

Penn lands $9.2M grant to study concussions

Douglas H. Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and David F. Meaney, PhD, a professor and chair of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, receive a $9.25 million grant to Penn researchers to study the underlying mechanisms of concussion and help uncover potential clinical interventions that could improve recovery.

Philadelphia Business Journal


Microsoft co-founder gives Penn $9.25M grant to study concussions

Douglas H. Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and David F. Meaney, PhD, a professor and chair of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, were recently awarded a $9.25 million grant to study the underlying mechanisms of concussion and help uncover potential clinical interventions that could improve recovery.

Philadelphia Inquirer


In the Know with David Oh

Douglas H. Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and a professor of Neurosurgery, discusses the latest treatments and research of concussion. 

WWDB AM Radio


On the Cutting Edge

Frances Jensen, MD, FACP, chair of the department of Neurology, explains how basic neuroscience research is enabling doctors and specialists in neurology to gain a better understanding of many common neurologic diseases,such as Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Philadelphia Life Magazine


Protect Your Brain for Life: Follow these expert strategies to guard against injury and cognitive decline throughout your life.

Frances E. Jensen, MD, FAAN, chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania provides advice on maximizing brain health and preventing cognitive decline.

Neurology Now

 

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2016

 

Brain Injury Survivors Talk of Hope and Continued Healing

The Philadelphia Inquirer covered Penn's second annual Mind Your Brain conference for traumatic brain injury survivors. The story focused on the event's survivors panel and the recurring theme of hope. Penn's M. Sean Grady, MD, Chair of Neurosurgery, and Doug Smith, MD, Director of Penn's Center for Brain Injury and Repair, are quoted.

Philadelphia Inquirer


Health: War Hero’s Brain Injury Treatments Show Promise

Doug Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed by CBS3 about traumatic brain injury at the 2nd annual Mind Your Brain conference for TBI survivors. The Penn Medicine conference focused on TBI in the military. 6ABC also covered the event.

CBS3 • 6ABC


Super Bowl 50: A Conversation about Concussions

It’s hard to believe that a mere 10 years ago concussions were not a part of the lexicon for professional athletes and even less so for youth and high school athletes and kids or older Americans who indulge in contact sports for fun.

Read More: Penn Medicine News Blog


Firms Proliferate to Prevent Concussions But Evidence Lags 

Doug Smith, MD, professor and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about new technologies designed to prevent athletes from concussions.

Philadelphia Inquirer article

Close


2015

 

‘Concussion’ Puts Spotlight on Injury and Ties to the NFL

Doug Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery, were both interviewed by WHYY radio and 6ABC about the new movie, "Concussion," which premiered on Christmas Day.

ABC segment

WHYY radio segment

FOX 29 segment


Six Things You Should Know About Concussions

Doug Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed on the latest in concussion research for a recent story in Scientific American Mind.

Scientific American Mind article


A Biomarker for Concussion?

A study led by Doug Smith, MD , a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, found that a cleaved protein called SNTF, which signals damaged axons in brain tissue, could be developed as a test to identify patients with traumatic brain injury, reports Medscape.

Medscape article


Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor Working to Help Others


Candace Gantt was an active athlete and mother when she suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a bike accident. She is now working to help others with brain injury. Candace organized Penn Medicine's Mind Your Brain symposium to help connect survivors with resources. There is still a lot that is still unknown about why some patients have dramatic recoveries after brain injury and some do not. "Quite frankly, this is for us to hear what we can do better," M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery told CBS3. Doug Smith, MD, director the the Center for Brain Injury and Repair was also interviewed by KYW Newsradio. 

CBS3 segment
KYW radio segment



Former Flyer Discusses Traumatic Brain Injury

6ABC reports that former Flyer Ed "Boxcar" Hospodor participated in a panel discussion on brain injury and concussion with other former professional athletes at last Friday's Mind Your Brain symposium for brain injury survivors and caregivers. 
Communications placement

6ABC segment


Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor Working to Help Others

Candace Gantt was an active athlete and mother when she suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a bike accident. She is now working to help others with brain injury. Candace organized Penn Medicine's Mind Your Brain symposium to help connect survivors with resources. There is still a lot that is still unknown about why some patients have dramatic recoveries after brain injury and some do not. "Quite frankly, this is for us to hear what we can do better," M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery told CBS3.Doug Smith, MD, director the the Center for Brain Injury and Repair was also interviewed by KYW Newsradio. 
Communications placement

CBS3 segment
KYW radio segment


Former Flyer Discusses Traumatic Brain Injury

6ABC reports that former Flyer Ed "Boxcar" Hospodor participated in a panel discussion on brain injury and concussion with other former professional athletes at last Friday's Mind Your Brain symposium for brain injury survivors and caregivers. 

6ABC segment


Wrestling with Danger

Pro wrestling now has a concussion controversy of its own. Two wrestlers from Pennsylvania say what happened in the ring gave them brain damage and they’re blaming the WWE. Doug Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, who has not treated the wrestlers, told CBS3, “Traumatic brain injury is one of the strongest environmental risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s linked with earlier dementia.”

CBS3 segment


Youth Football May Factor into Memory Lapses in NFL Vets: Study

A new study suggests there might be a benefit to starting tackle football at a later age: it possibly protects the brain. Former NFL players who played tackle football before age 12 showed greater declines in their memories and cognitive functions when compared to peers who entered the game in their teens, a new study reported. But even without the latest study of ex-NFL players, there's plenty of science suggesting younger kids' brains are more vulnerable to damage, Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, who was not involved in the study, told NBCNews.com.

NBC News.com article


Rams Quarterback Suffers Concussion On The Field

Doug Smith, MD, research professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center of Brain Injury and Repair, was interviewed by the CBS Evening News about concussions following a head injury by a St. Louis Rams player during Sunday's game versus the Baltimore Ravens.

CBS Evening News segment

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2014


Blood Test Forecasts Concussion Severity

Scientific American’s online feature, 60 Second Science, featured recent research from the lab of Robert Siman, PhD, research professor of Neurosurgery. Siman and colleagues developed a blood test could objectively determine whether or not concussion damage is bad enough to put a professional athlete on the bench, and when it’s safe to let someone back on the playing field. The test looks at levels of a protein fragment in the brain called SNTF—which in more severe cases, spills into the bloodstream.

Press release

Scientific American podcast

WHYY radio segment

Philadelphia Inquirer article


AG Kane Cleared to Return to Work in a Week

Doctors for state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane say she needs more time at home recovering from a car crash. Thursday Kane’s staff gave a detailed medical update on her resulting concussion and growing neck and back pain. Douglas H. Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that while most people have a full recovery from a concussion within hours or a few days, as many as 20 percent can still show symptoms for three months or more.

Philadelphia Inquirer article


College-Educated Brains Recover Better From Injury People with more education recover better from traumatic brain injuries.

The findings confirm what brain injury specialists have suspected, said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of Penn's Center for Brain Injury and Repair. 

NBC News.com article


Skip the Homework if You Have a Concussion 

Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, comments on a new study finding that nearly 50 percent of kids and young adults who didn’t reduce their mental strain following a concussion took 100 days or more to fully recover. Among those who cut back the most, almost all had recovered by 100 days, most within a couple of months.

NBC News.com article


Newer Football Helmets Could Slash Concussion Risks 

Study Suggests In light of a new study suggesting that newer football helmets could cut concussion risk in half, NBCNews.com interviewed Center for Brain Injury and Repair director Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery. Ultimately there will just need to be more studies on the topic, said Smith. “I would say this is an important study because it instructs us on how to sharpen our focus for future ones,” Smith said.

NBC News.com article


 

Close


2013


Penn Team Develops Blood Test to Signal Long-Term Damage From Concussion

About 20 percent of concussions lead to lasting problems but, until now, there hasn’t been a way of predicting that. Penn’s Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery, and Robert Siman, PhD, research professor of Neurosurgery, developed a blood test to identify when concussions will lead to long-term problems.

Newsworks.com article

Los Angeles Times article

Philadelphia Inquirer article


What Will the World Be Like 150 Years from Now?

A Discovery News article looking at the way the world will operate in the future speculates that humans will more likely connect directly to computers via their brains, through some kind of “wet” connection, said Douglas H. Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair. Wet connections use engineered nerves or nerve-like materials to link organic material to computer material.

Discovery.com article


Brain Changes, Memory Problems Seen with Minor Head Bumps

Young athletes playing contact sports may experience learning and memory deficits as well as brain changes even when jolts to the head don’t trigger a concussion. While the brain may heal, it may still show signs of wear and tear, said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair. “If you get the equivalent [to a] scar in the brain that is a problem.”

NBC News.com article


Baseball and the Brain: New Danger in Concussion Crisis?

Just as parents were adjusting to the idea that collision sports like football and ice hockey could damage kids’ brains comes word that sports like baseball may also carry a risk. Parents also need to know that some people are more vulnerable to long-term problems from any kind of brain injury, said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair. 

NBC News.com article


 

Thinking Ahead: The Future of NeuroscienceThinking Ahead: The Future of Neuroscience - State Representative, Chaka Fattah, Huff Post

Chaka Fattah convened more than 40 scientists, researchers, and advocates at Philadelphia's University City Science Center to discuss the latest innovations in neuroscience research with Dr. Philip Rubin, Principal Assistant Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Huff Post Article


Prospect of Long Trial Helped Drive NFL Settlement

Thursday’s surprise $765 million settlement between the NFL and its former players, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, gives the players $675 million to compensate retirees of any era who have documented brain damage. Still, the settlement is not likely to push the issue out of the spotlight, according to Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair.

Philly.com Article


 

Teaming up for Neuroscience Innovation

Following a briefing on the current state of neuroscience research across the United States, held in Philadelphia's University City Science Center and hosted by Congressman Chaka Fattah, we had the opportunity to take the morning's featured speaker, Dr. Philip Rubin, Principal Assistant Director for Science at The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), on a whirlwind tour of brain-related research here at Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine News Release


What Will The World Be Like 150 Years From Now?

 By Jesse Emspak, Discovery NewsIn a Discovery News article looking at the way the world will operate in the future, the article says that a century and a half from now, typing on a keyboard might look as old fashioned as writing with a quill pen. Instead, humans will more likely connect directly to computers via their brains. That will involve some kind of "wet" connection, said Douglas H. Smith, M.D., professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Brain Injury and Repair. Wet connections use engineered nerves or nerve-like materials to link organic material to computer material. Such interfaces would allow for directly controlling a virtual keyboard. "Imminent access to the Internet will also transform education -- all the world's history will be just a nerve impulse away," he said. "Such immediate availability of information will change the way we feel about family and friends. A loved one on the other side of the world could essentially go through the day with you."

Discovery News


Multiple Concussions Have Changed the Life of One California Teen - By Jamie Goldberg 

Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery, is quoted in a Sports Illustrated article about repeat concussions in teen athletes. While there are no studies on the long-term effects of repeated concussions on young athletes, evidence from studies of NFL players indicate that the risks may be greater than players—or their parents—realize.

Sports Illustrated Article


The War Inside My Dad

In a Reader’s Digest story about a WWII veteran’s blast concussion during combat and related long-term issues, Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair is interviewed. “TBI can almost manifest as emotional instability, an inappropriate emotional response.” A concussion can cause irreparable damage by rupturing axons, which extend from brain cells and transmit electrical current. “Once an axon disconnects, it cannot grow back together,” Smith said. “The damage initiates long term degeneration.”

Reader's Digest Story


Local/State Hearings to be Held in Philadelphia on NFL Concussion Lawsuits

More than four thousand plaintiffs are preparing for a showdown with the NFL who they say in the past promoted violent play, but down played the risk to players. Penn’s Doug Smith, MD, Director of Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, says at best the science is in its infancy and there are many unknowns among the most basic why some players suffer long-term trouble, while others with multiple concussions do not. The center is in the midst of a study of a hundred former retired NFL players.

ABC 7 Eye Witness News Story


Brain Injuries Still Mysterious, But Research is Building - By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer

A front page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that brain injury researchers, including a cadre at the University of Pennsylvania, are lifting the veil [on brain injury], and what they're seeing is already "dramatically" changing American sports, said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery, who heads Penn's Center for Brain Injury and Repair. Scientists are only beginning to unravel why most who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries seem to recover just fine while some have lasting problems; or why misshapen proteins associated with dementia develop in some brains after injury but not in others. They don't know how to fix the damage. This is giving Smith and the 25 senior investigators who work with him at Penn plenty to do. Penn uses a multidisciplinary approach that brings together neurotraumatologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, bioengineers, neuroscientists, neuropathologists, physiatrists, psychiatrists, and emergency medicine doctors.

Philly.com Article


 

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2012

 


The Unlikely Man Behind Football-Slamming Documentary "Head Games" - By Chris Silva, Chicago Business

For decades, the concussion problem has been overlooked in professional sports and in particular football, Crain's Chicago Business reports, in a story about the producer behind "Head Games," a documentary featuring experts from Penn Medicine. Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery, has been working in traumatic brain injury for 20 years. In an interview, he stresses the importance of a remove-from-play protocol in youth sports and the need to have a diagnostic test that can be administered by coaches and administrators who lack extensive medical training. “We need something akin to a pregnancy test: something that's easy to do, obvious right away,” Smith says. “We are working on biomarkers for traumatic brain injury, but I don't know if you'd see them on the sideline. You might have to wait a certain number of hours (for results). So you really need something that's objective to screen people.”

Chicago Business Article


Iron Woman 

Lini S. Kadaba, The InquirerThe Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Penn Neurosurgery patient and traumatic injury survivor Candace Gantt. On Saturday, seven years and three months after her accident, Gantt, 55, will compete in the Beach2Battleship Ironman in Wilmington, N.C. - her first full Ironman, and the most grueling competition (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run) she has ever done. "Why her brain repaired itself to the extent that other people's don't, I don't know," says M. Sean Grady, MD, chair of Neurosurgery. He suspects that quick treatment made a difference and perhaps her level of fitness, "but I can't prove it," he says. A video recounting Candace's story is featured.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Article


'Head Games' film brings attention to brain trauma in sports - By Mars Jacobson, The Daily Pennsylvanian

The Daily Pennsylvanian discusses the new documentary, Head Games, noting that scientific research behind the causes and long-term effects of concussions is still in the infancy stage. That is where researchers like Douglas Smith, MD, and others at the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair come in. “We have 25 professors studying traumatic brain injury,” said Smith, professor of Neurosurgery. “This is the biggest and oldest center in the country.” Smith and several other doctors at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine were involved in the “Head Games” documentary.“The movie is a wake-up call,” Smith said. “It doesn’t have enough information to be highly informative but this could be used as an educational platform.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian Article


Candace Gantt, Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair - VIDEO - cbr productions, in conjunction with Rob Parker of Parker Digital

Mom and athlete Candace Gantt was in a death-defying bike accident seven years ago. She competes in her first Ironman Triathlon on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

Philly.com Article


140 Miles of Grace By Kim Menard

Penn Medicine News Blog On July 19th, 2005, Candace suffered a serious brain injury after being struck by a car while riding her bike. Following an extensive hospitalization and surgeries at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she was back on her bike just 6 months after her accident.

Penn Medicine News Blog


High school football saving brains as game goes on - By Daniel Trotta and Jo Ingles, Reuters

For decades jolts to the head were written off as "getting your bell rung" and considered part of the game. Now, concerns about serious brain injuries have penetrated American football culture and high schools are taking action, Reuters reports. A 2011 study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that survivors of a single traumatic brain injury in young adults can show changes in their brains years later, possibly leading to neurodegenerative disease similar to Alzheimer's.

Reuters Article


Research Continues On NFL Players’ Health Issues - By Pat Leob, CBS Philly

As the Eagles start their season, the NFL is giving unprecedented attention to players’ health issues, KYW Radio reports. The League gave the National Institutes of Health $30 million for research on injuries associated with football, like the study that Penn Medicine researchers are conducting on the aftermath of concussions. Leslie Shaw, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is part of a team trying to at least help track the consequences of those hits over time, by identifying biomarkers of the neurodegenerative disease, traumatic encephalopathy, which often strikes former players. Shaw says the study should help athletes, veterans and others too. “That’s why this is so important,” Shaw explained.

CBS Philly


Documentary film 'Head Games' focuses on brain trauma - By Jonathan Tamari, Staff Writer, Inquirer

Doug Smith, MD has studied brain trauma for 20 years. For most of that time, the Penn professor of neurosurgery said, injuries such as concussions were called the silent epidemic.

Philly.com Article


Brain Injury Study: A Single Season of Hits May Harm College Athletes' Ability to Learn - By Catherine Pearson, Huffington Post

Huffington Post reports that just a single season of contact sports can take a toll on college athletes' ability to learn, according to a new study. "This study shows there's not a huge effect overall -- there's not a dramatic effect pre- and post-season," said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, who was not involved in the new study. "But there is a small effect in a subgroup of individuals. It raises the question, is there a selective vulnerability for certain individuals? For example, a genetic predisposition?"

Huffington Post Article


Brain damage from IED blasts and football concussions is similar, study shows - By David Brown, Washington Post

Soldiers exposed to roadside bomb blasts and athletes who have suffered repeated concussions show the same long-lasting changes to brain cells, a new study reports.

Washington Post Article


Junior Seau's death sharpens concussion focus - By Kris B. Mamula, Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

The suicide of 43-year-old former National Football League linebacker Junior Seau on May 2 has reignited a debate about the connection between repeated concussions sustained in contact sports and long-term emotional problems such as depression and even suicide, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. “What we need is a voice of reason,” said Douglas Smith, MD, professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair. “There’s a lot of confusion about professional football players.” The paradox of repeat concussion is that not everyone who suffers the injury goes on to develop emotional and dementia-like problems or winds up taking their life, Smith said.

Pittsburg Business Times


Seau's death re-ignites debate on violent hits - By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Staff Write 

The news of Seau's death came hours after debate erupted over the NFL's decision to suspend four players for their roles in a bounty program with the Saints. Seau's death in California, after apparently shooting himself in the chest, according to police, echoed the recent suicides of other former NFL players, including ex-Eagle Andre Waters and former Bear Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest last year and asked that his brain be sent to researchers studying the longterm effects of brain injuries.

Philly.com Article


Severe Brain Injury Warrants Bold Moves - By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Early, aggressive treatment of patients with severe traumatic brain injury appears to be cost-effective compared with less aggressive approaches, an analytical model showed.

MedPage Today


Young athletes growing mindful of concussion danger - By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Staff Writer

The debate and discussion over concussions and their consequences have moved beyond the spotlight of professional sports. According to neurologists, that's a good thing.

Philly.com Article


Stretched to the Breaking Point - Posted by Karen Kreeger for Penn Medicine News Blog

With this year’s Super Bowl setting a record for being the most-viewed show in U.S. television history, concussions – more technically, mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) – have probably been on many a mind this week. TBI has long been a leading cause of death and disability, with over 1.7 million cases in the US alone each year.

Penn Medicine News Blog


A Smack Upside the Head: NHL and NFL concussions get the ink. But your head is on the line, too by By Laura Beil, Photographs by Joshua Scott for Men's Health magazine

Matt Mastrantuono remembers a lot about that Sunday last April, but not the crash. One minute he was guarding his man during an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Walla Walla, Washington, the disc sailing in his direction. The next thing he knew he was splayed on his back, trying to figure out why that strange guy was standing over him. Turns out, that guy was one of his best friends. "I didn't even know why I was on the ground," says Mastrantuono.

Men's Health Article


Dana Foundation Grant to Test Concussion Treatment for Athletes - Penn Medicine Announcement

Peter LeRoux, MD, FACS, associate professor of Neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, was awarded a 3-year, $250,000 Dana Foundation Clinical Neuroscience grant, to conduct a study using branch chain amino acids to treat concussion in athletes.

Penn Medicine Announcement


 

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2018

Are Women’s Brains More Susceptible to Concussions?

Douglas H. Smith, MD, a professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, is featured in a BBC World Service “Health Check” segment during which he details the specifics of his study examining whether women’s brains are more susceptible to concussions.

BBC World Service (starts at 17:38)

Penn Researcher Receives $4M State Award for Multi-Institution Effort to Transform Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

Douglas H. Smith, MD, the Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $4-million, four-year PACT (PA Consortium on Traumatic Brain Injury) award from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to lead a multi-institution effort to transform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Penn Medicine News

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