ANN ARBOR, Mich. Every twenty-eight seconds, someone in America suffers a stroke, a massive seizure, a brain or spinal cord injury, or another major emergency affecting the brain, spine or nerves. Every two minutes, someone dies from one of these conditions. Many others are left permanently disabled.
To reduce this toll, it will take better treatments that can be delivered in the first minutes and hours after neurological emergencies occur. But many barriers stand in the way of studying new treatments in enough patients to show how well they work.
This week, a team of researchers from around the country will gather in Michigan to kick off an unprecedented national effort to break down those barriers. The meeting will officially launch the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials network, or NETT, which will be a permanent backbone that will allow a broad variety of studies to be conducted in ambulances and hospitals nationwide.
The network is funded by a $7.7 million, five-year grant from the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Because it involves so many sites where brain and spine emergencies are treated, NETT will overcome one of the biggest roadblocks to finding better emergency treatments: having enough eligible patients with the same condition at any single hospital. By studying patients at many hospitals, NETT will gather information on what works, and what doesn't, faster than ever before and share that knowledge so that all patients can benefit.
The University of Michigan Health System is the home to the NETT's clinical coordinating center, which will coordinate the network's 11 "hub" centers at major medical centers. Each of those hubs will partner with many "spoke" hospitals and emergency medical response companies around the country.