San Antonio facility wins $17 million military contract to study traumatic brain injury

A consortium at the University of Texas Health Science Center will study ways to treat military personnel and vets affected by trauma and related psychological wounds.

click to enlarge The STRONG STAR consortium is based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. - Screen Capture / Google Maps
Screen Capture / Google Maps
The STRONG STAR consortium is based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
A consortium based at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio has landed  a $17 million Defense Department contract to launch eight new research projects dealing with traumatic brain injury and psychological health, according to officials with the school.

The STRONG STAR consortium — the name is an acronym for the South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience — brings together researchers with military, civilian and veteran-serving institutions to improve military psychological health. Its clinical trials are funded by the Defense Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

UTHSC officials said the newly funded projects will help STRONG STAR advance care for service members and veterans recovering from war-related trauma and related psychological wounds.

“As a group, these new projects will help us better understand and better assess, treat and prevent chronic problems with the two signature wounds of post-9/11 wars — traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder — along with a variety of related conditions that stem from them or that contribute to their complexity,” said Alan Peterson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UT Health San Antonio and STRONG STAR's director.

Those affected by traumatic brain injury and traumatic stress disorder often face higher suicide risks, sleep disorders, chronic pain and tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears, Peterson said.

Some of the research funded by the new Defense Department contract will include examinations of programs to decrease suicide risk after brain injuries, brain games designed to improve recovery and rapid-intervention for those facing suicide risks, according to UTHSC officials.

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