Thomas A. Van Dillen, Ph.D.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Scores of Traumatic Brain Injury professionals have accepted personal invitations to travel to Fort Leonard Wood for collaboration at the Apr. 1 "TBI Summit" here.

"These researchers and clinicians all seek to build an infrastructure for TBI-related research to occur--and this is happening right here on Fort Leonard Wood," said Dr. Thomas A. Van Dillen, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital's chief of TBI & Neuropsychology.

"Concussion management is a big deal," Van Dillen said. "The vision of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Commander, Col. Peter Nielsen, is something that's really coming together. People are starting to see Fort Leonard Wood as a valuable base for TBI study."

X2 Biosystems, a Seattle Washington-based company that develops head injury monitoring systems, is a member of Fort Leonard Wood's own Research and Clinical Care Consortium, known as "RC3." The consortium is working to develop impact sensors to actively measure and report, in real time, the impact levels of forces sustained during training and military operations that can result in TBI, Van Dillen said.

"It's a big deal because we're going to be studying TBI for years to come and there's going to be a lot of data collected from that here," Van Dillen said. "This base represents a lot to researchers not only because they're able to study those who suffer the effects of concussion here, but because of the progressive procedures and methods of TBI study under development here by RC3."

"Our population is a much desired population for the study of concussion for many reasons," Van Dillen said. "This is a training installation where training involves breaching exercises and explosive ordinances, for example. We have the direct opportunity--to indirectly decrease--through study--the impact of future concussive injuries and improve the lives of those who suffer these injuries.

"This age group here and the clinical care conducted for this age group is most desired for study and helps us advance procedures and methods of study. So, this is a highly sought-after environment for these reasons. This science is of interest not only to people in the military, but also in the Government, civilian enterprise and academia at all levels," Van Dillen said.

"There is a great value here. The study of TBI here will have a wide-ranging effect on the study and treatment of TBI everywhere as a result," Van Dillen said.

The 2016 Traumatic Brain Injury Symposium and Summit events are slated for March 31 and April 1, respectively, with TBI instruction and discussion events to be held at the Fort Leonard Wood Main Chapel.

The TBI "Symposium" event's purpose is to train local commanders, medical personnel and NCOs on Fort Leonard Wood, and is a separate and distinct event from the TBI "Summit."

"In the past we've taken the opportunity to fulfill the Army's annual TBI training requirement here during professional collaboration portions of a single Symposium event," Van Dillen said. "But this year we are having two events, though still conducting them at the same time of year, back-to-back, to gain possible additional benefit from attendee interest and overlap."

(Editor's note: John Brooks is the marketing and public affairs officer at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)

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