ALISO VIEJO, Calif., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and United BioSource Corporation (UBC) today announced a pilot study to screen for pseudobulbar affect (PBA) symptoms in approximately 1,000 veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) . According to The Bob Woodruff Foundation, it is estimated that more than 320,000 service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
PBA occurs when a TBI or other neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Parkinson's disease, stroke or Alzheimer's disease, damages the areas of the brain that controls normal emotional expression, causing uncontrollable episodes of crying or laughing. These outbursts are often contrary or exaggerated to the patient's inner emotional state, causing them to laugh or cry when they may not find the situation to be particularly funny or sad. As a result, many of those afflicted with PBA have significant impairment on measures of general health status, occupational and social function. People with PBA tend to have higher incidence of depressive symptoms and often avoid social activities they would normally enjoy.
"This is the first study prospectively assessing PBA symptoms in veterans with TBI," said Randall Kaye, MD, chief medical officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals. "This research will provide key insights including the estimated prevalence of PBA symptoms in this population."Avanir, UBC, the medical community and the VA will gain a deeper understanding of the prevalence of PBA symptoms in veterans suffering from TBI, as well as the prevalence of comorbid mood or behavioral disorders. Ultimately, the intent is to use the information gathered to develop a screening protocol for identifying and treating PBA symptoms to improve the quality of care for our nation's veterans.