The focus of the research activities is to study effects of different types of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which is the leading cause of death and disability for people up to about 40 years of age. Damages may have been caused in traffic accidents, difficult childbirth or weapons – including shock waves after a bomb explosion.

This figure shows 6 images from a rat subjected to a TBI. Fig A-D show ex-vivo DTI-MRI images.
This figure shows 6 images from a rat subjected to a TBI. Fig A-D show ex-vivo DTI-MRI images. A&B show the edema (white). C&D show the effects on fiber tracts. The images E&F are from confocal microscopy (after the MRI scan) in the border zone of the injury (blood vessels in red and glial cells in green). Photo: Mårten Risling

One of the aims of the research is to be able to prevent and treat serious brain damage and map the mechanisms and processes on a molecular and cellular level upon damage to the nervous system.

In close collaboration with Dr. Johan Davidsson at Chalmers in Gothenburg, the group has developed unique models for penetrating TBI and rotational acceleration injury. These models can be used to define thresholds for lesions such as diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which is an important component in TBI occurring after car collisions or detonation of roadside bombs.

Important aspects include vascular function, edema and inflammation. Biomarkers for different injuries are searched for in the animal models as well as clinical material in collaboration with Dr. B-M Bellander at Neurosurgery at Karolinska University Hospital.

Also imaging techniques such as MRI (col­lab­oration with KERIC) are used for transla­tional studies. International collaborators in­clude groups at USU and NIH in Bethesda and DSO in Singapore.

Other projects incorpo­rate studies on lesions on spinal nerve roots and effects of high-power microwaves on nerve cells.