Diagnostics & Imaging Program

The Diagnostics and Imaging Program will characterize each patient's injury to optimize diagnosis and inform the plan of treatment from among the available options. Advanced neuroimaging techniques will go beyond standard imaging parameters to interpret injuries from novel combinations of structural measures, metabolic parameters, and indicators of circuitry function and dysfunction. Although the emphasis is on military traumatic brain injury (TBI), civilian patients affected by neurotrauma will also be evaluated by the CNRM, which will help physicians understand the relationships across the full spectrum of brain injuries. The projects use state-of-the-art imaging technologies, often in combination. The Program and CNRM are also developing novel advanced neuroimaging capabilities to support the research projects.

Diagnostics and Imaging Program's Primary Goals:

  • Characterization of the specific disease processes (blast and non-blast TBI, cognition, psychological health, sleep disorders, behavioral changes, etc.)
  • Monitoring of the natural history of these pathoanatomic and functional changes over time in untreated patients
  • Observation of the effects of therapy on the pathoanatomic and functional lesions
  • Development of models for detailed in vivo and in vitro study
  • Trials of putative diagnostic tools
  • Trials of potential therapeutic regimens

Critical Issues for the Diagnostics and Imaging Program:

  • Currently available technologies cannot identify who is affected with mild brain injury sufficiently to allow diagnosis and monitoring of injuries which may initially result in few or only subtle symptoms but which may lead to more significant manifestations over time.
  • Neuroimaging technologies may provide opportunities to develop better diagnostic tools for the spectrum of injury.
  • TBI associated with blast exposures have multiple potential mechanisms of injury that have not yet been characterized neuropathologically so that neuroimaging must be developed to facilitate the interpretation of the underlying pathology.
  • The heterogeneity of pathophysiology associated with TBI and the potential co-morbity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) creates challenges for differentiating and diagnosing the structural, metabolic, and functional changes in a given patient.

Research Projects

To meet the goals of the CNRM, projects were developed within three overarching themes:

  • Research to better understand the pathophysiology of TBI and PTSD in wounded warriors.
  • Clinical research to relate neuroimaging abnormalities to disease symptomatology and TBI prognosis.
  • Development of new neuroimaging technologies to provide a better assessment of structural and functional brain abnormalities in TBI.

Diagnostics and Imaging Program Research Projects and Pilots

To view all CNRM funded research projects:

  • Visit the Federal RePORTER website
  • Next to Agency, click "Select"
  • From the drop down, click "Clear"
  • Select the + by "Defense" and click the box for "Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine"
  • Click "Select" and then "Submit Query"