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Personal Biology & Comorbidity Impact on post-TBI Cognitive Dysfunction & Neurodegenerative Disease (cTBI)

The goal of this study is to examine how cognitive dysfunction such as problems with attention, thinking clearly, memory, and problem solving are related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). The TORCH team is gathering data to examine how personal biology factors such as genetics contribute to the development of memory and thinking issues in post-9/11 Veterans with TBI.

Veterans that have a history of moderate to severe TBI in VA medical records are being asked to participate in this study. Those being invited may or may not have cognitive dysfunction. Veteran participation will help researchers understand problems with thinking clearly and memory loss. 

Our team has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh for this study, in which data collection involves three steps. First, Veterans will be asked to complete a survey about health experiences. Then, a telephone interview will be conducted. Next, the Veteran will be mailed a DNA “spit” kit, where they will collect a small amount of saliva in a tube.  The Veteran will then mail the DNA collection kit to the University of Pittsburg where genotyping or “DNA decoding” will occur. The DNA code or genotype is a long list of letters that will be stored on password-protected, encrypted research servers. The saliva will be kept in a tissue bank managed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for use in future research studies.

Our team hopes that the information gained from the survey, interview and DNA saliva sample will help us to better understand what factors contribute to cognitive dysfunction in Veterans with TBI.  Improving Veteran care motivates us to excel in research.