The Military Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative (MTBI2) was founded in 2008 by congressional mandate in response to the alarming number of blast-related TBIs sustained by Service Members in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Traumatic brain injury is a significant health issue affecting service members and veterans during times of both peace and war. The high rate of TBI and blast-related concussion events resulting from current combat operations directly impacts the health and safety of individual service members and subsequently the level of unit readiness and troop retention. The impacts of TBI are also felt within each branch of the service and throughout both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care systems.
Originally named the Center for Neurological and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM), we began as a collaborative blast-related neurotrauma and post-traumatic stress research program among the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).
Since our founding, MTBI2 has funded 145 studies and has enrolled 10,402 research participants, a majority of whom were service members. From 2008 to 2018, we also funded the DoD/USU Brain Tissue Repository, which is the only brain bank facility in the world that is exclusively dedicated to collecting, assessing, analyzing, and storing donated brains from individuals who have served in the military.
Our work has directly contributed to the discovery of a multidimensional MRI sequence that accurately detects astroglial scarring, the development of diagnostic criteria for CTE and TES and continues to support the development of the DoD’s Warfighter Brain Health Initiative.