UT Southwestern launches concussion registry to study brain injuries

Dr. Munro Cullum
Dr. Munro Cullum

DALLAS – December 4, 2015 – UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair (TIBIR) has initiated one of the nation’s first concussion registries for student athletes and others aimed at improving treatment for this all-too-common sports injury.

The registry, called CON-TEX, is designed to capture comprehensive, longitudinal data on individuals age 5 and over who have suffered sports-related concussion or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

An estimated 3.8 million recreational and athletic concussions occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There is so much we do not know in the area of concussion,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern, and Principal Investigator for the CON-TEX study. “We will study the natural history of concussions, obtain information about how and where they take place, and then conduct rigorous clinical research designed to improve the treatment of this common injury.”

Participants will be questioned about their concussion history, family medical background, neurocognitive test results before and after concussion, and recovery experience, including when they returned to school, work, and/or competition. Three months after their initial review, participants’ health statuses will be reevaluated. Those involved in the study will have the opportunity to enroll in future clinical trials that test innovative therapies and diagnostic approaches.

CON-TEX is a collaboration involving health care professionals in neuropsychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology and neurotherapeutics, neurological surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and sports medicine at UT Southwestern, Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, and Texas Health Resources Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. The study’s multidisciplinary approach will yield a comprehensive examination of sports- and nonsports-related concussion and analysis of current recovery patterns and management strategies. Knowledge from these studies will guide best practices to improve the long-term health of student and adult athletes in Texas and beyond.

Initially, CON-TEX aims to enroll 300 to 500 participants through 2016 who are patients at the participating institutions.

“Our long-term goal is a better understanding of concussion, its risks, treatment, and prevention,” said Dr. Cullum, “not just in student athletes, but for people in all stages of life, whether they are children or adults on bikes or playing sports, military personnel in combat, or seniors who experience a fall.”

The initial phase of the CON-TEX study is funded by TIBIR and a grant from the David M. Crowley Foundation. TIBIR is a state-funded initiative to promote innovative research and education in traumatic brain injury, with the goals of accelerating translation into better diagnosis and revolutionizing care for millions of people who suffer concussions and other types of brain injuries each year.

UT Southwestern recently established the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, a comprehensive initiative dedicated to better understanding the basic molecular workings of the brain and applying these discoveries to the prevention and treatment of brain diseases and injuries.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to about 92,000 hospitalized patients and oversee approximately 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.  

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Media Contact: Gregg Shields
214-648-3404
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