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From NewsWise: In a collaborative program with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) under the leadership of Dr. Daniel Perl, professor of Pathology, USU, Dr. Stanley Prusiner and the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (IND) at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), has made an encouraging start to identify drugs to treat troops suffering from the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

They are identifying drugs that can reduce the accumulation of proteins in the brain that are a result of traumatic brain injury and thus halt the progression of the injury. It is the focal accumulation of an abnormal form of the tau protein, particularly in the frontal lobes, that causes central nervous system dysfunction. This is similar to what has been recently described in the National Football League (NFL). Currently there are no drugs available to stop, or even slow, tau production or aggregation. The identification of such drugs is an urgent medical and societal issue.

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The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, or USU, is the nation’s federal health sciences university. USU students are primarily active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who are being educated to deal with wartime casualties, emerging infectious diseases and other public health emergencies. Of the university’s more than 4,500 physician alumni, the vast majority are supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, offering their leadership and expertise. For more information, visit www.usuhs.mil.

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