Science + Technology

UCLA named state lead center in new effort to combat pediatric brain injury

52 top health care institutions will combine forces to help kids

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The UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, together with Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, will serve as California's lead center for research on pediatric brain injuries as part of a new national network announced June 5 in Washington, D.C.
 
In what is being called one of the largest collaborative efforts in pediatric medicine, UCLA will join with 51 other health care institutions representing states across the country to address issues related to the treatment of brain injury, the number one cause of death and disability in children and young adults in the United States.
 
The collaboration is the work of the Sarah Jane Brain Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by Patrick Donohue, whose baby daughter was shaken so hard by a caregiver that she suffered a severe brain injury.
 
In January, more than 60 of the top pediatric neurologists in the country, including UCLA's Dr. Christopher Giza, came together to draft the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan, which called for the development of a national collaborative network to address the issue.
 
Member centers in the new network will share information and research findings on pediatric brain injuries in an effort to establish a standardized national medical plan for dealing with these injuries. As a state lead center, UCLA will be responsible for developing a master plan of care for children and young adults with brain injuries in California.
 
"We are so honored to have UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital as the state lead center for California and as part of this national network of the best health care institutions in the country," Donohue said.
 
"It is shocking to realize that despite brain injury being the leading killer and disabler of our children, nothing has ever before been done to develop a nationally standardized medical, or even an educational, plan to address it," Donohue added. "Very little public awareness exists of pediatric brain injury."
 
"We are proud to be given this designation by the Sarah Jane Brain Project and to be affiliated with the foundation," said Giza, an associate professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology and a member of the Sarah Jane Brain Project's medical advisory board. "Most disorders of the brain, whether multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's or autism, have strong and vocal advocacy groups. But traumatic brain injury remains a silent epidemic, affecting over 1.5 million people each year in the U.S. So I applaud the foundation for becoming a strong voice for research into pediatric brain injury and for being the driving force behind this plan."
 
It is estimated that the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan will cost $125 million annually to implement across the country. The plan will address all important aspects of brain injuries and brain injury treatment, including prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, adult transition, rural/telehealth and mild traumatic brain injury.
 
The UCLA Department of Neurosurgery is committed to providing excellence in leadership in the major disciplines of neurosurgery. Centers of Excellence in neurosurgery have been established at UCLA in brain injury, brain tumors, epilepsy surgery, neurovascular surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, spinal and peripheral nerve surgery, and stereotactic and functional neurosurgery. Other departmental programs in development include neuroendoscopy, hydrocephalus, interventional MR surgery and neurological critical care.
 
Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA is a vital part of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which is consistently ranked the best hospital in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report. Mattel hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents, with the mission of providing state-of-the-art treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere, as well as improving the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases.
 
For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom.
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