Present treatment protocols at UCLA involve state-of-the-art neurosurgical interventions to identify and remove severely damaged brain tissues, followed by a specialized program of neurointensive care in which the individual is closely monitored by a highly trained team of professionals. Electronic monitoring and repeated neuroimaging using several different imaging modalities allow us to conduct a intensive care program that assists as optimally as possible as the brain begins its healing processes.
At UCLA, our most impressive research finding is that after an acute period following injury, the brain enters a state of metabolic depression. Of the many mechanisms behind this metabolic depression (such a disconnection of nerve endings, cell death, reduction in energy need, and other factors) for tissue which is intact and appearing to be responding, this may simply be due to a lack of fuel.
Consequently our central research theme is to identify the metabolic destination of cerebral glucose taken up after TBI, and thereby find alternative metabolic pathways that are receptive to interventions.
We are looking forward to understanding how those interventions can be best tailored to enhance cellular and functional recovery, which in turn may lead to fundamental changes in the future of TBI patient management.