Every 8 seconds: the science of brain injury with Dr. Uzma Samadani

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There’s big news from HCMC this week.  Many know that HCMC is the largest provider of TBI care in the state of Minnesota.  But many don’t know that we are also a major research institution and in no area is this more true than TBI.

The big news is that our researchers are launching the largest single-center study of brain injury in the United States.  It’s been all over the news – check out the buzz this is getting in the national media.


But I don’t have to go to the national media, I just have to walk down the hall to talk with people who are quite literally the country’s leading researchers.  So I dropped by the laboratory of Dr. Uzma Samadani (<–click for her bio) here at HCMC.  She’s super cool even when I gave her only 10 minutes notice before showing up in her office!  Check out the short video clip above – and be sure to listen to the end to hear Dr. Samadani’s important advice about protecting kids from concussion/TBI.  For a more in-depth perspective from Dr. Samadani, click on the TedMed video below (it’s only 6 minutes long).

Eye tracking

Every 8 seconds someone has a traumatic brain injury.  But you may be surprised to learn that doctors really don’t have great answers to the most basic questions like:

Do I have a brain injury?  How bad is it?  Where is it in my brain?

That is what the researchers hope to answer.

Shakira’s hips

Shakira’s hips?  Huh?  Rather than have me try to explain it – watch this brief talk by Dr. Samadani herself.  It is fascinating.

So Dr. Samadani and her team are doing research based on the knowledge that you can actually track the movements of a patient’s eyes to help answer these questions.  As it is now, doctors wave their finger in front of a patient like we have been doing for centuries.  The researchers are hoping to change that by studying all sorts of ways to diagnose brain injury – using blood tests, eye tracking, and imaging (x-rays and pictures and the like) . The eye tracking technology in particular could be game-changing in the way we diagnose and treat brain injury.  For more on eye tracking, click here.

I am convinced that some day the research being done right here at Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota will change the lives of millions of people.

That excites me!

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