Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in children and accounts for over 50,000 deaths in the United States each year. Survivors are left with lifelong motor and cognitive deficits and suffer from neuropsychiatric sequelae such as depression and PTSD, as well as from memory impairment and depressed executive functioning. To date, there is no specific treatment for the neurological sequelae of severe brain trauma; therapy is directed toward reduction of intracranial pressure and maintaining physiological homeostasis. Similarly, non-traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), accounting for 15% of all strokes, has a high mortality rate and no specific therapy to improve outcome in survivors. We use adult and pediatric TBI and ICH models and concentrate our studies in the following categories:
Our approach includes the use of genetically modified mice, viral vector gene transduction, standard molecular techniques, cell death studies, and mouse behavioral assessments including fear learning and extinction to assess the PTSD phenotype and its interaction with TBI. Major funding sources are the NIH/NINDS, DOD, and NFL Charities Foundation. We are affiliated with the MGH Neuroscience Center.
Michael Whalen, MD