Focus on Traumatic Injury Treatments

Houston is home to a new trauma research center. The National Trauma Institute says funding for injury treatments is low compared to research for chronic conditions. Capella Tucker reports how the new Center for Translational Injury Research hopes to provide better outcomes for people who suffer traumatic injuries.
The new Center will look for better ways to treat trauma victims. U-S Army Surgeon General Col. John Holcomb will lead the effort.

"How we take care of the injured patient really has very little good data driving how we care for the patient best practice."

Holcomb will be turning in his military uniform to head the research center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Many trauma treatments have been developed by the military. Holcomb says this center will help in advancing those treatments not only for the military but for civilians as well.

"The way our body reacts to injury is remarkably the same, whether you are blown up by an IED in Iraq or Afghanistan, or are shot with an AK-47, or you get in a bad motor vehicle crash driving down the highway. You can only respond certain different ways. You have air way problems, you have bleeding problems, or you get bad infections and then you die. So any intervention we devise both on the military side and civilian side applies equally well across those two populations."

Children will benefit. Doctor Charles Cox is currently doing research looking at how stem cells from a victims own bone marrow can help recover from brain injuries.

"The management of traumatic brain injury is the critical determinate of their survival and their long-term disability. Importantly there is no reparative therapy for traumatic brain injury adult or pediatric patients."

In the meeting, black, white and gray bar charts and graphs show how his patients are improving with the new therapy.

"One of those dots on that graph is a little boy named Julian. He's seven years old."

Julian was hit by a car. He was in a coma for more than a month. Trauma patients come back to the hospital after 180 days to see how they are doing.

"I wasn't certain how he was, how he was doing. I didn't know if he had some significant, neurological deficits. So he came out and gave me a big hug. And said well, Julian, how are you doing? He said, Dr. Cox, my brain is OK. [He laughs] Right after that he punched his little brother and ran down the hallway. [He laughs] Nevertheless, that's what energizes us to do this work."

Capella Tucker. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Capella Tucker

Capella Tucker

Director of Content

Capella Tucker joined KUHF in the spring of 1994 as a part-time reporter. She quickly gained a full-time position when she took over production duties for

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