UCSF Team Wins GE & NFL Head Health Challenge Award

GE and the NFL just announced the 16 winners in the first stage of the $20 million Head Health Challenge, and UCSF is proud to be on the list! A collaborative team from UCSF Radiology, UCSF Neurosurgery and Ayasdi, a Silicon Valley start-up company, will receive a $300,000 award to advance their work to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. Each of the awardees will have the opportunity to win an additional $500,000 in funding in 2015.

The team, led by Principal Investigator Esther Yuh, MD, PhD, Adam Ferguson, PhD, and Pratik Mukherjee, MD, PhD, of UCSF, and Ayasdi's Pek Lum, PhD, Damir Herman, PhD, and Tanya Petrossian, PhD, is one of over 400 entrants from 27 countries. The goal of the Head Health Challenge is to improve the brain safety of athletes, members of the military and society. UCSF’s proposal, “Topological analysis of diffusion tensor imaging to diagnose and predict outcome following mild traumatic brain injury,” aims to do just that.

UCSF and Ayasdi, a Silicon Valley start-up solving complex problems with advanced mathematics and machine learning, are teaming up to better serve patients and athletes who have suffered a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. By applying Ayasdi's novel technology to high-quality, detailed MRI and CAT scans of the brain, we aim to better identify patients who are more likely to experience persistent symptoms and need additional support following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury.

"These studies hold the promise of advancing brain science in important ways. The health and safety of our players is our top priority, and this challenge extends that commitment to the general population as well,” stated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We hope the innovative approaches proposed by these winners will have a lasting impact on the treatment of head injuries."

For more information on how the GE NFL Head Health Challenge is working to improve head health, please see here.