University of Buffalo awarded $2 million grant to study concussions

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Researchers working at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the impact concussions have on an individual’s body and brain.

Physicians from UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will be conducting the study and are looking for approximately 90 teenagers to take part.

John Leddy, MD, professor of orthopaedics and sports medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is the co-principal investigator along with Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Buffalo. Leddy is also the director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic and sees patients through UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

“The work we will do on this grant will reveal why exercise intolerance is even happening in the first place,” Leddy said in a prepared statement. “We want to demonstrate how exercise intolerance predicts recovery time. By studying cerebral blood flow through brain imaging, we will be able to better understand how the brain changes after a concussion and how it changes back again so patients can get on with their lives.”

The goal of the grant is to take a concept developed by researchers--that “exercise intolerance,” or the inability to exercise at a high level, is a biomarker for concussion--can be confirmed.

According to the University of Buffalo, Leddy and Willer are some of the first researchers to determine concussion is a physiologic injury and not just a cognitive one.

Parents of teenage athletes are being asked to contact the UB Concussion Management Clinic if they are interested in their children taking part in the study.