Dr. Alan Faden: University of Maryland School of Medicine Faculty Profile

Uploaded by schoolofmedicine on 21.07.2010

I’m Alan Faden; I’m a neurologist by training. I’m recently recruited here as the Director
of the Shock Trauma and Anesthesiology Research Organizer Search Center. The STAR center was
envisioned before I got here; it was actually envisioned by Tom Scalea and Peter Rock representing
the trauma program and the shock trauma center on the one hand and anesthesiology on the
other, together with the Dean, Al Reece, came together and decided that the time was right
to develop a very powerful research component to our trauma clinical programs, which are
probably the best in the world, and really use the patients populations to redefine,
in a research capacity, how best to treat a patient with the goal of changing the way
the world treats trauma patients. Probably the most important thing we’ve done in recent
years has been to identify the fact that trauma leads to the generation of gene responses,
including those related to inflammation in the brain that occur over very long periods
of time, much longer periods of time than people have accepted in the past. Indeed,
probably certainly these responses we’ve identified, perhaps, occur forever after a
traumatic brain or spinal cord injury and lead to continued tissue destruction. What’s
become appreciated in recent years, A, is the fact that in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
in part because of the improved protective gear of our soldiers that head injuries become
the signature injury of that war. In fact, more than 20 percent of military personnel
deployed to war zones have a subsequent head injury; it’s an enormous number. And on
the other side is the sports related. As sports have taken off, and particularly as women’s
sports have taken off dramatically in recent years there’s been an increased recognition
in the problems associated with concussive brain injury. So, although the gospel in our
field is that after brain or spinal cord injury it may take hours, it may take a day or two
but certainly within the first several days it’s all over and whatever you can fix is
fixable then or not. We’ve taken on that tenant and tested the idea that because inflammatory
cascades go on indefinitely that we potentially can intervene months or years after an injury
and make a difference.