New approach for studying traumatic injury

October 28, 2002

In the first national effort of its kind, researchers around the country are collaborating to study the body's response to critical illness and traumatic injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, gunshot wounds and burns.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of the primary institutions involved in the project, called "Inflammation and the Host Response," which is supported by a five-year glue grant, a new type of funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for large-scale, multidisciplinary pursuits. The NIGMS anticipates spending $37 million on the project.

After severe trauma or stress, the body's natural defense mechanisms can trigger an often-fatal cascade of events that ends in a series of organ failures. As a result, critical illness and injury account for eight percent of deaths in the United States each year, typically taking the lives of young, otherwise healthy individuals.

"This project represents the first ever NIH-sponsored. coordindated national effort in injury and critical-care research," says J. Perren Cobb, M.D., associate professor of surgery and principal investigator of the School of Medicine team. "We are now combining the expertise and resources of investigators across the country to efficiently address this complex medical condition."

Cobb described the problem and the research effort to solve it during the 40th annual New Horizons in Science Briefing, sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, held Oct. 27-30, at Washington University in St. Louis.

Though early treatment for severely injured trauma patients has improved dramatically since the introduction of advanced trauma life support in 1979, there is no evidence-based regimen of care once the ill or injured are transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU), says Cobb. As a result, the mortality rate of ICU patients has barely improved in the past two decades. Without a better understanding of how the body responds to critical injury, he doubts the situation will change.

"We may actually be making things worse by trying to intervene during the body's natural, adaptive response," he explains.

The group of 19 medical centers will compile an extensive database including demographic, genomic and physiologic information about patients with traumatic injuries. In the process, they plan to develop standard operating procedures for burn and trauma patients and to develop clinically relevant animal models.

Washington University and Stanford University are leading the genomics component of the project, which is working to identify the functions and relationships of genes expressed during critical illness and injury.

"Our ultimate goal," says Cobb, "is to understand, model and predict how an individual will respond to a given injury and thereby help physicians choose the best treatment for each patient."

Contact: Darrell E. Ward, assc. director for research communications, Washington University School of Medicine, 314-286-0122; ; or Joni Westerhouse,Washington University School of Medicine, 314-286-0120;

Washington University in St. Louis

Related Trauma Patients Articles from Brightsurf:

UAlberta researchers find way to speed up nerve regrowth for trauma patients
A University of Alberta researcher has found a treatment that increases the speed of nerve regeneration by three to five times, leading to much better outcomes for trauma surgery patients.

Whole body scans for trauma patients saves time spent in emergency departments
A new study by a University of South Australia medical imaging student may have found the solution to easing hospital ramping and crowded emergency departments.

Certain scores may predict which trauma patients face high risk of multiple infections
A team at Massachusetts General Hospital has found that certain scores already used to assess the severity of a trauma patient's condition can provide clues to their risk for multiple infections.

Giving trauma patients blood pressure stabilizing hormone cuts transfusions by half
Giving trauma patients with severe blood loss the hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) cut the volume of blood products required to stabilize them by half, according to results of a new, first-of-its-kind clinical trial from Penn Medicine.

Initial clinical experience of zero TE skull MRI in patients with head trauma
Zero TE (ZTE) skull magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be a possible option for clinical use in patients with skull lesions and may be helpful in managing radiosensitive trauma patients, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2019 Annual Meeting, set for May 5-10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Childhood trauma has lasting effect on brain connectivity in patients with depression
A study lead by Penn Medicine researchers found that childhood trauma is linked to abnormal connectivity in the brain in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD).

Jury still out on what confers survival advantage in female trauma patients
Female hormones, particularly estrogen, do not seem to explain why women tend to have higher survival rates than men following severe trauma, an 11-year study using data from 815,843 Swedish patients suggests.

Artificial intelligence can identify trauma patients who misuse alcohol
A first-of-its kind study has demonstrated that an artificial intelligence technique can be used to identify trauma patients who misuse alcohol.

Gunshot victims require much more blood and are more likely to die than other trauma patients
In a new analysis of data submitted to Maryland's state trauma registry from 2005 to 2017, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers found that gunshot victims are approximately five times more likely to require blood transfusions, they require 10 times more blood units and are 14 times more likely to die than people seriously injured by motor vehicles, non-gun assaults, falls or stabs.

Blood type O patients may have higher risk of death from severe trauma
Blood type O is associated with high death rates in severe trauma patients, according to a study published in the open-access journal Critical Care that involved 901 Japanese emergency care patients.

Read More: Trauma Patients News and Trauma Patients Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to