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US Department of Defense Recommends Funding to Department of Biostatistics and Data Science

US Department of Defense Recommends Funding to Department of Biostatistics and Data Science
The Department of Defense has recommended $750,000 in funding for research led by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics and Data Science. The study, “Leveraging FITBIR Data to Improve Clinical Practice of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury,” is led by Dr. Jose-Miguel Yamal. Co-investigators include Dr. Ashraf Yaseen and Dr. Stacia DeSantis. Other collaborators include Dr. Jovany Cruz Navarro and Dr. Claudia Robertson at Baylor College of Medicine.
Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the US, and many gaps remain in outcome prediction after it occurs. After severe TBI, a patient’s vital signs are monitored closely by doctors, as any sudden changes in these vital signs may cause additional brain damage to occur. Dr. Yamal’s team will use statistical models and machine learning methods to learn what changes in a patient’s vital signs may predict how or if they recover after brain injury. To achieve high accuracy predictions, the team will combine data from research trials that have studied TBI within the past 10 years, examining vital signs information in the first few days after injury to predict long-term neurological recovery. 
High-accuracy prognostic models can guide the management of TBI, helping healthcare providers make informed decisions about whether certain treatments may or may not yield any benefit for their TBI patient. The results of the study could also inform clinical practice on ways to treat elevated pressure inside the brain that lead to better patient outcomes. Dr. Yamal’s team anticipates that both civilian and military service members who suffer severe TBIs are likely to be positively impacted by these results.
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