8-20-2013 Press Release

Date: 
August 20, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Scottsdale, AZ – August 20, 2013

The Johnny O Alzheimer's, Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Foundation partners with the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center to Support Critical Traumatic Brain Injury Research Mission

The Johnny O Alzheimer's, Dementia and TBI Awareness Foundation based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is proud to announce that they have selected the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) to partner in their critical mission to focus on military service men and women, athletes and patients of all ages with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

UCLA BIRC's translational research in traumatic brain injury was key in leading the National Football League (NFL) and the U.S. Military in developing practices to manage multiple concussions, as well as raising awareness for young athletes in school sports. The UCLA Brain Injury Research Center is a world-renowned leader in bench-to-bedside research for the diagnosis, treatment, education and prevention of TBI and multiple concussions.

"We have chosen to support the basic science research of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center in our united hope to find a cure for traumatic brain injury that could be translated to Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative disorders of the brain," said Mark ORavitz, CEO and Founder of the Johnny O Foundation.

Recent research has shown patients suffering from traumatic brain injury and multiple concussions have a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other neurological disorders. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease, is an example of this, evidenced in athletes and military service men and women who have been exposed to repeated concussions. Until now, accurate diagnosis of CTE could not be made until autopsy. Using the latest technological and neuroimaging advancements, the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center is now focused on scanning the brain non-invasively to diagnose CTE. There is currently no cure, and while rehabilitation can restore some neurological function, it is difficult to fully reverse the damage.

"Our research is focused on developing a complete understanding of the neurobiology of traumatic brain injury and the brain's natural healing mechanisms via cerebral metabolism and alternative fuels," said David Hovda, Ph.D., Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and professor and Vice Chair of Research Affairs for the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery.

The UCLA BIRC team is working on concocting a Gatorade-type fuel for TBI, or as Dr. Hovda calls it, a Bruinade, to stop the cascading progression of neurological damage.

The UCLA BIRC team is also focused on giving TBI patients the best chance for recovery and plasticity, the brain's ability to rewire itself for optimal functional outcomes after TBI. Dr. Hovda's team is involved in studies using trophic factors, immunological support, pharmacology combinations, cognitive and sensory-motor therapy.

Dr. Hovda's early brain injury research has helped the NFL set practices to diagnose the symptoms of an initial concussion and remove players from action while the brain shuts down to repair itself. Dr. Hovda also led a team of experts into the battlefields of Afghanistan to develop standardized recovery protocol for the military for our warriors wounded from brain trauma. In 2011, Dr. Hovda received the highest civilian honor, the Strength of the Nation Award, from the U.S. Army for his efforts to save troops suffering from multiple concussions on the battlefield. Honors such as these led to his being appointed by the White House to the Defense Health Board, a team of 14 experts to advise the Secretary of Defense on matters dealing with the health and care of service members.

Due to a recent influx of young athletes in need of concussion care, Chris Giza, M.D. of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and pediatric neurologist at UCLA, opened the UCLA Sports Concussion Clinic. Dr. Giza was the lead author on the new evidence-based guidelines for sports-related concussions for the American Academy of Neurology. His research at the UCLA BIRC continues to lead the way on setting the standard for diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions in sports for the medical community. In concert with the UCLA BIRC's Education Outreach Program, the clinic reaches hundreds of kids, both for diagnosis and treatment, as well awareness among young athletes, coaches, trainers and parents. The UCLA BIRC also works with colleges and high schools to obtain baseline neurological testing of young athletes pre-season, for more accurate diagnosis in case concussions occur.

The UCLA BIRC is integrating all areas of neuroimaging, engineering (mind-computer interface) and the development of regional and temporal biomarkers to determine which parts of the brain are injured for targeted, personalized treatment plans. Currently, all TBI patients are treated as if they are young males. Women, children and the seniors respond differently, so the UCLA BIRC team is investigating the various factors that need to be evaluated differently for management and care. These studies unite the Johnny O Foundation and the UCLA BIRC in their shared mission to find a cure for patients of all ages facing neurological disorders.

About The Johnny O Alzheimer's, Dementia, and TBI Awareness Foundation

The Johnny O Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non – profit, which operates nationally. Our mission is to educate the public as to the seriousness of Alzheimer's, Dementia and TBI by raising the necessary donations to accomplish our objectives. We are also dedicated towards helping fund the necessary research to find a cure for Alzheimer's and Dementia while promoting awareness, education and research funding in the area to improve safety standards to prevent TBI, which is a possible precursor to CTE.
Please visit www.thejohnnyo.org for more information on all of our foundation's activities.