MCW Receives $6.8 Million Grant from US Army to Research Neck, Spine and Brain Safety in the Military

MCW has received a five-year, $6.8 million grant from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) to analyze military helmet-mounted equipment on neck injury potential; assess the immediate and long-term outcomes of cervical spine artificial discs in civilian and military-relevant loading environments; quantify the differences between men and women for spinal injury thresholds and safety criteria; and evaluate advanced measurement technology for the assessment of brain injury in military populations.

The grant was awarded to the MCW department of neurosurgery with Narayan Yoganandan, PhD, professor of neurosurgery, as the principal investigator; and Frank Pintar, PhD, chief of research and professor of neurosurgery, as the co-principal investigator. Additional MCW neurosurgeon co-investigators include Jamie Baisden, MD, FEL '96, associate professor of neurosurgery; Joseph Cusick, MD, staff physician in the department of neurosurgery; Shekar Kurpad, MD, PhD, professor and interim chair of neurosurgery; and Dennis Maiman, MD '77, GME '82, FEL '84, PhD, professor of neurosurgery.

Nearly one-third of all medical evacuations from Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004–2007 resulted from musculoskeletal, connective-tissue or spinal injuries, according to a study led by a Johns Hopkins University researcher. The number of soldiers medically retired from the Army with at least one musculoskeletal condition increased nearly ten-fold from 2003 to 2009, according to Army statistics.

The outcome of this grant will be to increase the safety of military personnel from head, neck and spinal injuries. It is expected that the outcomes also will be highly applicable to the civilian population.

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