A new clinical trial at Oregon Health & Science University seeks to revolutionize treatment for concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Laurie King, an associate professor in neurology, is trying to design a more effective course of treatment for the roughly 1.5 million people who suffer concussions each year, more than 20 percent of whom continue to have symptoms months or even years after the injury.

The clinical trial, which is funded by a $6.6 million dollar grant from the Department of Defense, challenges the idea that patients need a set amount of rest before getting back to physical activity, and aims to get people back on their feet and back to their normal lives more quickly.

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“There is evidence for the first couple days a person should rest and try to recover, but the extended rest period, there’s not good scientific evidence that that’s the best thing to do for recovery,” said King.

Instead, the trial gets patients started on physical therapy, using sensors to track a patient’s balance.

After suffering near-constant nausea for months after suffering a concussion this year, Shawn Postera said she noticed a difference in how she felt a couple weeks after beginning the trial, and has improved more since then.

“I’ve gone from being nauseated all of the time to never being nauseated. And I’m able to ride my bike, and I’m able to take public transit,” said Postera.

Dr. King is in the third year of her initial clinical trial, and will soon begin a new trial observing patients newly diagnosed with concussions, which is also funded by the DOD.

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