CNRM Establishment

The Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) was established to address the current needs of the medical community to better diagnose and intervene for the prevention of the long term consequences resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly in the context experienced by service members in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

TBI, especially as a consequence of blast explosions, has come to the forefront as a "signature injury" among the U.S. Armed Forces serving in OIF and OEF. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) examined the scope of TBI incurred during the recent military conflicts. As of January 2008, over 5,500 soldiers had suffered TBIs. Members of the Armed Forces are increasingly experiencing neurologic impairments caused by primary, as well as repeated, blast exposure without a direct blow to the head or outward sign of significant injury.* Further, the incidence of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become an important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of TBI in these service members where psychological trauma is occurring in tandem with TBI.

Despite the advancements in body armor and battlefield medicine, soldiers continue to be critically wounded and face the possibility of TBI. To increase research capabilities, the United States Congress, through Public Law 110-252, established the CNRM as a collaborative intramural program and appropriated funds to the U.S. Department of Defense for implementation. Specifically, Congress has directed the CNRM to study combat casualties cared for at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) using advanced neuroimaging technology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center.

To accomplish this mission, the DOD and the NIH developed the CNRM to bring together the expertise of clinicians and scientists across disciplines to catalyze innovative approaches to TBI research with an emphasis on aspects of high relevance to the military populations. The CNRM has broadly involved and considered all avenues to improve TBI recovery and developed these approaches into six integrated Programs to interact as the CNRM. The CNRM seeks to capitalize on its unique opportunity to develop a set of mutually reinforcing programs among collaborating DOD facilities and the NIH to focus on the needs for diagnosis and treatment of soldiers in the National Capital Area.

The Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU) is responsible on behalf of DOD for fiscal management as well as coordinating the establishment and operation of the CNRM. As the Nation's federal health sciences university committed to excellence in military medicine and public health during peace and war, USU is uniquely situated to perform these activities across the Armed Forces.

* (Institute of Medicine, Gulf War and Health: Volume 7. Long Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury, 2008)