Missoula, MT -

Brain injury research at the University of Montana has proven so promising that two professors won a $300,000 grant from the National Football League and General Electric Co. to study ways that might help speed the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries in athletes and members of the military.

UM assistant professors Sarj Patel and Tom Rau have found that traumatic brain injuries change the level of certain proteins and RNA in the brain.

Under the grant, they will collect blood samples from people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury to determine if those changes can be detected in the blood. If the research continues to show promise, the professors would have the opportunity to win an additional $500,000 grant next year.