Date of Award

May 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Nursing

Committee Member

Jessica M Gill

Committee Member

Julia Eggert

Committee Member

Mary Beth Steck

Committee Member

Jim McDonell

Committee Member

Sheila Alexander

Abstract

Concussions resulting from blast exposures represent a significant source of injury among military service members and the civilian population. Overall, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a significant cause of hospitalization, disability, long-term care, and mortality across all age groups in the United States. Blast induced traumatic brain injury (biTBI) is an increasingly recognized subtype of brain injury, especially among military personnel. Blast exposure may influence a number of neurological processes, such as the inflammatory response, representing a unique biological profile. Outcomes from a TBI vary, even in similar injuries, and biomarkers including proteins and gene expression are increasingly studied to determine potential underlying mechanisms of injury and recovery processes. Biomarkers may yield insight into differential biological pathways in the various severities and subtypes of brain injury. This novel study proposes the examination of clinical and demographic characteristics and the identification of possible biological mechanisms through gene expression and protein analysis following brain injury. This study will be the first to examine gene expression related to inflammatory activation using sequencing and other unique methods to gain insight into immune pathways following blast exposure in clinical populations during the acute and subacute stages of injury. A deeper understanding of the role of inflammatory activation profiles will help direct future research in blast exposure and improve outcomes for individuals affected by this injury.

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