Vista residents and others throughout Southern California who have suffered significant traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) should know that additional new research is being documented in this area all the time. More precisely, researchers continue to investigate the link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). According to a recent press release from University of California, Davis, funding from the Pew Foundation will support new initiatives that will involve research into the biochemistry behind brain trauma. The research is part of a broader initiative to investigate and combat TBIs—including concussions—in both youth and professional sports leagues.
Biochemistry, Hits to the Head, and Traumatic Brain Injury
As the press release discusses, we know that behavioral changes take place in the brain after concussions. What we do not know, however, is precisely how the biochemistry of the brain changes, ultimately leading to those mood shifts. Kassandra Ori-McKenney, an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis, is researching TBIs and biochemistry. Ori-McKenney won fellowship and is the 2018 Pew biomedical scholar. The funding provides $300,000 over the course of four years, during which time Ori-McKenney “will investigate the role of the protein tau in the development of neurodegeneration resulting from traumatic brain injury.” Thus far, we know that there is a “strong correlation with the expression and spread of tau throughout the brain’s circularity.”