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UCSD gets $60 million grant

UC San Diego’s School of Medicine was awarded a $60 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to lead a five-year study on preventing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder, the university announced today.

The grant was provided through the DOD’s Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program to fund a 10-site clinical consortium.

Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are two prevalent but poorly understood battlefield and other violence-related disorders that affect millions, both military and civilian, according to UCSD.

The consortium will test new therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder, study ways to prevent the condition and look at the short- and long-term symptoms caused by mild head injuries.

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The grant is part of a $300 million commitment by the DOD to “prevent, mitigate and treat the effects of traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury on function, wellness and overall quality of life for service members as well as their caregivers and families.’'

In a statement, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the research will serve as an important resource for the thousands of active-duty service members and more than 250,000 veterans located in the San Diego area.

“The men and women who have bravely served our country deserve the highest quality of care, including those veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries,’' Feinstein said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 7.7 million Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in any given year.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder was first diagnosed in soldiers and veterans, but can also affect civilians.

In members of the military, it is caused by horrific, life-threatening traumatic experiences that occur during combat deployments. In civilian cases, it can be triggered by serious motor vehicle accidents, domestic violence, rape and other criminal violence and natural disasters.