MCW receives $6.8 million grant to study military spinal injuries

U.S. Army funding research into rising medical issue among personnel

The Wauwatosa-based Medical College of Wisconsin today announced it has received a $6.8 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for studying neck, spine and brain injury potential among the military population.

The five-year grant, awarded to the MCW Department of Neurosurgery, will specifically evaluate helmet-mounted equipment’s impact on neck injury potential; the outcomes of cervical spine artificial discs in civilian and military-relevant loading environments; spinal injury thresholds and safety factors for both men and women; and test advanced measurement technology used to assess military brain injury.

Narayan Yoganandan, Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery at MCW, will serve as principal investigator on the grant. Frank Pintar, Ph.D., chief of research and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, will be co-principal investigator.

According to MCW, almost one-third of all medical evaluations from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2007 were related to musculoskeletal, connective tissue or spinal injuries. And from 2003 to 2009, ten times more soldiers medically retired from the military had at least one musculoskeletal condition.

The grant aims to help improve military precautions against these types of injuries. The research is also expected to benefit the civilian population.

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