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Epidemiological Characterization and Prognostic Models for Post-Traumatic Epilepsy: A Collaborative TBI-MS and VHA Study (pPTE)

 The purpose of this study is to understand the role of both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and genetics in the development of epilepsy.  Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which disturbs brain activity, sometimes causing loss of consciousness for a period of time, and contributing to the development of seizures. Those who have experienced moderate or severe TBI are more likely to develop epilepsy. This is called post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) and it can negatively impact quality of life, as well as physical and mental health. In this study, our TORCH team hopes to develop models that help predict the risk of post-traumatic epilepsy in post-9/11 Veterans.

This study is a collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, in which interested Veterans 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.

The data collected in this study will help researchers to improve our understanding of how epilepsy is related to TBI or other health conditions. Our team has a unique opportunity to advance Veteran research by using the combination of genetic data and other health information to explore the relationship between TBI and epilepsy.