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Private sector will lead in breakthroughs in brain disorders, general says

Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 5:45 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 1:45 AM
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 Peter Chiarelli stood Mon­day before an auditorium full of researchers and clinicians and told them that what they were doing would not help the troops that he once led fast enough.

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Retired Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the CEO of One Mind for Research, talks about the need for medical researchers to share information in order to harness the benefits faster and possibly make more advances.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Retired Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the CEO of One Mind for Research, talks about the need for medical researchers to share information in order to harness the benefits faster and possibly make more advances.

“I’m not saying to end the way you do things,” said Chiarelli, a recently retired four-star general and former vice chief of staff for the Army. “I’m just saying take the next step.”

He spoke at the Kroc Center to the second annual Augusta Research Sym­po­sium on Advances in War­rior Care, which brought together people from Georgia Health Sciences University, Char­lie Nor­wood VA Medi­cal Center, Dwight D. Eisen­hower Army Medical Center and others who are collaborating on research and care for injured troops.

Chiarelli once headed the Depart­ment of Defense’s efforts to address two wounds common in recent conflicts: traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, which service members often suffer together.

At Eisenhower, 85 percent of troops with concussions also had pain issues, said Col. Mike Friedman, the deputy commander for clinical services.

That’s why Eisen­hower has its Forti­tude Cen­ter, which combines integrated pain management with access to residential substance abuse treatment and a Neuroscience Rehab Cen­ter to address those issues in a systematic way, he said.

In the Army, 60 to 80 percent of those with a brain injury also had PTSD, Chiarelli said. Yet those troops are often discharged without knowing where to get help later, he said.

“Except in places like Au­gusta, there is no support system to help them,” Chia­rel­li said.

A bigger problem is that those researching the issues don’t share data in a timely way, in part for proprietary and competitive reasons. It is a problem even within the military, he said.

A 2009 study by Air Force teams evacuating service members with brain injuries found the flights and altitude aggravated those who had been injured within a day or so, Chia­rel­li said, yet as head of the military’s efforts he didn’t hear about the findings until this year.

“I wonder if the NFL knows about this?” he said.

Worse, he said, the system is set up so that researchers guard their results until they can be published and there is no incentive to collaborate in an era where aggregating information should be easier.

Chia­rel­li is helping to push the One Mind for Research project, which aims to raise $100 million over three years to fund research into brain issues and mental illness and will share data through its Web portal so others can advance it. Its aim is to go from basic research to viable cures and treatments in 10 years – a task that might take 50 in the conventional government-funded system.

“We hope that our portal proves to folks that you can share data and have success,” Chiarelli said. “That resonates with folks. The idea of helping soldiers resonates with folks.”

It is not just service members that need it – 1.7 million people seek treatment each year for a brain injury, he said.

“When people understand the enormity of the problem, they’re very supportive,” Chia­relli said.

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soapy_725
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soapy_725 10/30/12 - 10:09 am
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The CSRA is prime country...
Unpublished

for brain disorder research. Sort term memory loss is at epidemic levels. Is it the water? Is it the low level radiation? Is it chemical plant pollution? Maybe we can get some more federal grants and enlarge the campus of GRU ET AL. When are we going to announce the construction of the GRU multi-use stadium and entertainment venue on Reynolds St?

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