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Navy Surgeon General Discusses Advancements in TBI Treatments

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110608-26

From Navy Medicine Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (NNS) -- The top medical officer for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps discussed military medical research advancements in the areas of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress at the 8th Annual World Congress on Brain, Spinal Cord Mapping & Image Guided Therapy, June 8.

The annual medical conference is a multi-disciplinary forum designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary sharing of technological and medical advances and scientific discovery. The attendees are a mixture of neurosurgeons, radiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, rehabilitation medicine, cardiologists, pulmonologists, bioethicists, policy makers, government officials, engineers, physicists, graphic designers, allied healthcare professionals, healthcare executives, students, post-docs., residents and fellows.

During his keynote address, Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr, stated that military medical advancements coupled with enhanced medical training and trauma experience during ten years of war have led to a 97 percent survival rate for coalition casualties; the lowest mortality rate amongst trauma victims coming out of any war in history.

"When Sailors and Marines in the fight are hurt, we apply all of our training and resources to provide rapid evacuation and care, and this is done in partnership with our sister services," said Robinson. "If a warrior can arrive with life in him or her, there is a good chance we can keep them alive. This is a huge advancement since the days of Vietnam and even Desert Storm."

Due to the nature of wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robinson made Traumatic Brain Injury and psychological health treatment his top research priority to best support both operational forces and home-based families during his tenure as Navy Surgeon General and Chief of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

"Our focused research has yielded tremendous results in combat casualty care in mild to severe TBI and post traumatic stress, as well as areas like wound management, wound repair and reconstruction, extremity and internal hemorrhage control and phantom limb pain in amputees," said Robinson.

Robinson told the audience that a key element of healing wounded warriors in body, mind, and spirit starts with care near the point of injury such as the Navy's Concussion Restoration Care Center located at Camp Leatherneck, Kandahar Afghanistan, the first of its kind facility that brings concussion specialists to the front lines. According to Robinson, most Sailors and Marines in the fight who are being treated at Camp Leatherneck suffer from mild TBI or concussions from IED blasts.

Since opening, the center has seen hundreds of personnel and the Navy has since expanded its capability to include first ever Navy Neurologist assigned to Kandahar to help support this mission. The Center at Camp Leatherneck is also a full spectrum center providing occupational and physical therapy, acupuncture, sports medicine and psychoeducation.

"We are benefitting greatly from having this in-theater support to immediately diagnose and treat concussions or mild TBI," said Robinson.

Robinson highlighted the contributions of medical research and research and stated that Navy Medicine would not be able to accomplish its mission without a vibrant research and development community that is supported by and works in partnership with both of its military sister services, as well as the private sector, non-profits and academia.

The United States Navy has a long history of medical research. Dating back to 1853, when the U.S. Congress created the first Naval Medical Research facility in Brooklyn, New York. Navy Medicine has 10 medical research laboratories located in the U.S. and overseas, focusing on programs as wide ranging as population based medicine and epidemiology, aviation, submarine, directed energy, toxicology, emerging infectious disease evaluations, combat casualty care, diving medicine and many more areas.

"Many of our wounded warriors are walking, talking, and leading productive lives today because of the research and medical advancements we have worked on together, and because of our transition/reintegration and resiliency programs we have created for them and their families," said Robinson. "The world class care we provide today is a direct result of the razor sharp focus we have placed on translational research advancements for our wounded warriors."

The Navy's Surgeon General also shared his views on the long-term care that will be needed for many wounded veterans and emphasized the Navy's commitment to work with numerous partners to ensure they receive enduring care.

"Make no mistake, the challenge of healing and caring for these men and women, in body, mind, and spirit is a long-term one that will last the better part of this century as the young wounded warriors of today mature into tomorrow's aging heroes," said Robinson.

Robinson oversees a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy Medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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