The US Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) have set up two multi-institutional consortia to research post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) over a five-year period.

The departments will jointly invest $107m in the two research consortia, the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), in response to President Obama’s Executive Order.

The Executive Order directs the federal agencies to develop a coordinated National Research Action Plan to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.

Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki said that VA has joined with partners in the federal government and the academic community to support the President’s vision and invest in research that could lead to innovative new treatments for TBI and PTSD.

"We must do all we can to deliver the high-quality care our service members and veterans have earned and deserve," Shinseki added.

CAP is a collaborative effort between the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center, and the Boston VA Medical Center, to develop effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment and rehabilitative strategies for acute and chronic PTSD.

CENC is a collaboration between Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Richmond VA Medical Center.

The factors which influence the chronic effects of mTBI and common comorbidities will be examined at CENC to improve diagnostic and treatment options.

Further research will focus on understanding the relationship between mTBI and neurodegenerative disease.

Image: MRI scan showing damage due to brain herniation after TBI. Photo courtesy of Rehman T, Ali R, Tawil I, Yonas H.