A nurse researcher for the Department of Veterans Affairs is being honored for her work in studying treatment options for traumatic brain injury in U.S. troops.
Christine E. Kasper, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior research scientist for the VA, is among 19 researchers worldwide set to be inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame in July at the 26th International Nursing Research Congress in Puerto Rico on July 25, according to a VA news release.
Kasper, who began her career at Rush Medical College in Chicago, has conducted multiple studies on TBI, observing conditions in veterans such as inflammation, behavioral changes and memory impairment. Her most recent work involved determining if the anti-inflammatory drug minocycline could make a difference in reducing the behavioral affects of brain injury, the news release said. Kasper also evaluated the effects of the drug on certain brain regions linked to anxiety, depression and memory. Kasper’s findings showed the drug to have a positive affect on serum and tissue levels. She also showed how brain stimulation can help improve working memory, according to the new release.
Blast-induced traumatic brain injury has become one of the main injuries for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the VA, making such research crucial. Even mild and moderate forms of TBI can have long-term effects on behavior, the news release stated.
“Dealing with the significant effect of TBI for the civilian and military healthcare systems can be quite a challenge due to the overall complexity,” Kasper said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, mild TBI could cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. In more serious cases, TBI can cause bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain with long-term complications or even death.
Kasper’s work has appeared in the Annual Review of Nursing Research. “It’s an honor for VA to recognize Dr. Kasper for her research efforts,” Carolyn Clancy, Interim Under Secretary for Health, said in the release. ”Her life-changing research results, her insight, expertise and integrity have greatly impacted the profession and improved the lives of our veterans.”
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