26 May 2022

Dr. Christina La Croix Honored by FBCH for Commitment to Traumatic Brain Injury Research

The Department of Research Programs at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) has awarded the inaugural COL Peter J. Weina Award for Excellence in Research to Geneva Principal Investigator, Navy Commander Christina L. La Croix, DO, for her diverse portfolio of traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related research protocols and the immense potential this research has to influence the future of brain injury medicine. Dr. La Croix currently serves as the Interim Medical Director and Interim Behavioral Health Service Chief, as well as the Director of Research, at the Intrepid Spirit Center at FBCH. The research protocols that she currently oversees are anticipated to result in a sizable contribution to the scientific knowledge surrounding TBI diagnoses and treatments, thereby positively impacting the care of military service members, veterans, and their families alike.

Dr. La Croix’s largest study is a prospective, longitudinal study titled, “LIMBIC-CENC Study 1: Prospective Longitudinal Study on Late Neurologic Effects of Combat.” These research endeavors are a direct result of President Obama’s 2012 directive, which resulted in a national research plan to treat and prevent Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. This protocol is one of many large-scale trials included in the Long-Term Impact of Military-Relevant Brain Injury Consortium – Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (LIMBIC-CENC), with the ultimate goal of establishing a database to provide needed empirical information on the chronic and late-life effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), including those that may stem from neurodegeneration. Furthermore, this research aims to identify predictors of and early, preclinical evidence of neurodegeneration, to assist in the prognosis, development, and targeted application of neuroprotective therapy.

The Acute and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Study in a Military (and Civilian) Population Using Advanced Microstructure Imaging in Novel Ultra-High Performance MRI System, also known as MAGNUS, was recently approved at Fort Belvoir in collaboration with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). This study aims to determine a set of imaging biomarkers that will allow for the differentiation of acute mTBI on an individual basis. The key factor differentiating this study from all previous studies, is the substantially improved image quality and spatial resolution due to use of a unique high-performance gradient platform, with significantly improved sensitivity, allowing for improved images that could be instrumental in uncovering imaging biomarkers of acute mTBI.

Dr. La Croix’s vast TBI research portfolio ranges in topics from nutrition-based treatments such as the effects of diet on post-traumatic headache symptoms to new and innovative treatments like the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depressive symptoms, associated with concussion.

She has also supervised several projects using cutting-edge technologies, including a virtual reality-based intervention that was previously used to treat vestibular dysfunction in TBI patients. These protocols have fostered collaborations amongst some of the preeminent academic, clinical, and research institutions in the country, including Kessler Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, WRNMMC, and GE Research, amongst others.

Geneva is proud to collaborate with Dr. La Croix to advance military medical research at Fort Belvoir.

 Photo Caption: From left to right: CDR Christina L. La Croix, FBCH Interim Medical Director and Interim Behavioral Health Service Chief, Director of Research, Intrepid Spirit Center; Caitlin Jones, MS, Clinical Research Program Manager, The Geneva Foundation and Intrepid Spirit Center; Alexis Robinson, Research Assistant; Gumana Ali, Research Assistant

Disclaimer: The views expressed do not reflect the official policy of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.