Two University of Montana professors are getting help from the NFL and General Electric to continue their research into bio-markers that may be used to gauge the intensity of a brain injury in humans. Professo Sarj Patel says the Head Health Challenge helped fund a study into the bio-markers of rats last year.

"The original price was $300,000 that we received last year," Patel said. "We have a year basically like a group concept for our idea based on those results out of the original 16 winners of the first awards they take 6 of those teams to receive another award of half a million dollars to continue to work."

Professor Tom Rau says their work has already shown similar bio-markers in humans and, if their hypothesis is correct, could lead to a way to detect and prevent severe head trauma.

"There’s a lot of evidence that individuals that are exposed to second traumatic brain injury, when they are still healing from the first, end up having long term in a much slower recovery," Rau said. "So we really want to be able to say with these biomarkers this individual is ok to return to this division and they won’t suffer permanent brain damage."

The study will now move into bio-markers in humans. Rau says some of the research will be done in Missoula, but will have to likely be moved to a larger, out-of-state medical facility later in the study.


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