Congress Blasts Failures of Waco VA Traumatic Brain Injury Program

Two key members of the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. and U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Tex. blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs brain research program at the Waco Center of Excellence, with one pressing to end the program and turn it over to the more capable National Institutes of Health.

On Sunday, the American-Statesman investigation revealed the VA’s once highly touted brain imaging research program in Waco had sat dormant for years, producing no results since it was created six years ago — while costing millions of dollars in the process.

The $3.6 million mobile brain scanner was intended to produce groundbreaking research into traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. But since it’s unveiling in 2008, the scanner has sat dormant for the past three years, plagued by a series of delays.

Over 300,000 service members both deployed and nondeployed have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Officials originally touted the scanner would study the brains of soldiers before and after combat tours in hopes of finding the elusive physical markers of PTSD and mild traumatic brain injuries.

The Austin American-Statesman’s investigation showed that VA leaders took charge of the scanner without a clear plan and were unable to recruit enough qualified experts to operate the equipment and run the studies. The delays caused the VA to lose at least seven federally funded grants for what researchers hoped would be groundbreaking brain injury research. Thus far, the equipment remains unused and the study incomplete.

 

 

2017-09-20T10:55:50+00:00