The chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of neurosurgery at UCSF treats hundreds of brain- and spinal-trauma patients every year. UCSF and Manley recently received a $4.1 million grant to conduct a pilot study that would redefine the way traumatic brain injuries are classified.
How many people are affected by traumatic brain injuries every year? People are surprised to learn that in March, the CDC updated their head-injury statistics — estimated now at 1.7 million a year.
Why is treatment limited? Many of the same treatments we use today are the same treatments that were used 80 years ago. There are billions spent on HIV/AIDS and cancer, but with TBI we have done only 25 medical trials.
What have you done to try to advance the treatments of traumatic brain injuries? At UCSF, we’ve reduced mortality rates by 50 percent just by improving monitoring tools and the system of care.
What is the pilot study you are working on? We’ve spent a lot of time studying features of cancer to put people into smaller categories to fine-tune treatment to that type of disease. We are trying to ... collect information and image patients in order to describe them beyond mild, moderate and severe.
— Erin Sherbert