Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Brain Injury and Repair

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Research Accomplishments

Work from our Center has been documented in over 300 peer-reviewed articles published in international scientific and medical journals. We have made significant progress in understanding brain trauma over the past three decades. For example, we now know that cell damage and death might continue for many weeks and even years after TBI. Thus, the potential recovery period for patients with TBI and opportunity for therapeutic intervention is much longer than previously believed. Other accomplishments include:

  • Discovery of the mechanisms causing diffuse axonal injury (diffuse damage to nerve fibers), the most important and debilitating aspect of traumatic brain injury. 
  • Discovery that damage to axons in the white matter is the source of post-traumatic coma. 
  • Discovery of an anatomical link between traumatic brain injury and the development of post-traumatic epileptic seizures. 
  • The first experimental evidence linking traumatic brain injury with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. 
  • Extensive pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of potential therapies for traumatic brain injury. 
  • The development of novel MRI imaging techniques to better diagnose forms of traumatic brain injury. 
  • A greater understanding of the importance of monitoring the increased pressure on the brain that commonly occurs after injury. This greater understanding led to the development of a device to measure cranial pressure that is now a key component of the management of brain injury. 
  • Discovery of several mechanisms of secondary injury after brain trauma, leading the way towards developing new therapies.