Traumatic Brain Injury Military First: A Tissue Repository

Image courtesy of the VA Research on PTSD.

Image courtesy of the VA Research on PTSD.

The military brain tissue bank was established with the hope that scientists will learn more about the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) of service members returning from combat.

After more than a decade or war, service members exposed to blasts “are coming home with troubling, persistent problems and we don’t know the nature of this, whether it’s related to psychiatric responses from engagement in warfare or related to actual damage to the brain, as seen in football players,” said Dr. Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist and director of the brain tissue repository, stated in a press release. “We hope to address these findings and develop approaches to detecting accumulated tau in the living individual as a means of diagnosing CTE during life – and, ultimately, create better therapies or ways to prevent the injury in the first place.”

The Department of Defense established the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Tissue Repository for Traumatic Brain Injury at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Md. to advance the understanding and treatment of TBI in service members. 

TBI Questions to be Answered

  • Does TBI lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a neurodegenerative disorder that involves the progressive accumulation of the protein tau in nerve cells within certain regions of the brain? As the tau protein accumulates, it disturbs function and appears to lead to symptoms seen in affected patients such as boxers and, more recently, football players with multiple head trauma according to the DoD press release.
  • What does blast exposure do to the brain?
  • Do the different forms of brain injury experienced in the military lead to CTE?
  • What are effective ways to treat and prevent CTE?

You can get more information on donations to the brain tissue repository and their research by contacting the Repository team at or 855-366-8824.

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