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The Pentagon is spending an unprecedented $300 million this summer on research for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, offering hope not only for troops but hundreds of thousands of civilians, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The money — the most spent in one year on military medical research since a $210 million breast cancer study in 1993 — will fund 171 research projects on two of the most prevalent injuries of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the paper reported.

By contrast, the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest government sponsor of medical research with an annual budget of $28 billion, spends about $80 million per year on TBI research, the NIH told USA Today.

"It is huge," Ross Bullock, director of neurotrauma at the University of Miami School of Medicine and lead investigator in a Pentagon-funded study of a drug designed to improve oxygen flow to damaged brain cells, told the paper. "It is just the most … enormous thing that has happened in traumatic brain injury research."

Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the paper reported that an estimated 1.4 million Americans suffer TBI each year, leaving 235,000 hospitalized and 50,000 dead.

A study released in April by the RAND Corp. think tank estimates 300,000 current or former combat troops have PTSD or depression, and up to 320,000 may have suffered a brain injury, the paper noted.

Projects range from the development of an eyeglasses-like device that can detect brain injury through eye movement to coordinated studies of troops and veterans at locations across the country, according to the article.

Court-martial decision in fatal beating awaitedThe Article 32 hearing for Spc. Bobby Morrissette wrapped up Monday night in Vilseck, Germany.

The decision on whether Morrissette will face a court-martial for his alleged role in the July 5 beating death of Sgt. Juwan Johnson now rests with the convening authority in the case, Brig. Gen. David Hogg, commander of the Joint Military Training Command.

Morrissette is charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, participation in gang initiation rituals, impeding an investigation, impeding trial by court-martial and willfully disobeying an officer.

Hogg’s decision is expected in a couple of weeks.

Upgraded gym at Rota base is now availableCustomers of the gymnasium at the Navy base in Rota, Spain, were able to begin enjoying the results of a $130,000 equipment upgrade Monday.

Improvements include a nine-piece "speed line" that provides a quick full body workout, an expanded Nautilus equipment area and additional equipment for those who want a more extensive workout, according to a base news release.

The upgrades also include six new televisions and an FM radio system that customers can watch or listen to while working out, the release said.

The gym is now state of the art, Stephanie Whipple, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Rota fitness coordinator, said in the statement.

Some of the older equipment was moved to schools on base, the release stated.


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