Exclusive at Concussion Inc.: Documenting the Federal Government’s Multimillion-Dollar Support of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Concussion Research

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November 30, 2011
P.S. on Harvey Araton, New York Times, and Penn State Coverage
November 30, 2011

The National Institutes of Health yesterday fulfilled my Freedom of Information Act request and supplied five documents of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s multimillion-dollar grant application and progress reports on concussion research for the period 2001-06.

I want to thank FOIA official Earl Blansfield and the staff at NIH. While I was being about as big a public pain in the ass as a public pain in the ass can be, they completed their task with the utmost professionalism and courtesy.

This is a very big story with a very long tail. I’m going to start by simply posting the documents. I encourage readers who are more experienced at reading and interpreting these kinds of things to send their insights and suggestions to tips@muchnick.net.

Here are the links:







Some quick first notes:

  • I reemphasize that this is no mere underwriting of purchases of lab equipment or travel to scientific conferences. It is a major subsidy, including FTE compensation breakdowns, for a monumental public health study. The grant shows tens of thousands of dollars of annual remuneration for such controversial figures as Mark Lovell, Dr. Joseph Maroon, and Micky Collins.
  • As noted here previously, the NIH conflict-of-interest disclosure by UPMC is not included with this document release. The federal rules put the control of the public release of that disclosure in the hands of the grant recipient itself, and UPMC isn’t talking, at least not to me. I do not believe the Lovell-Maroon-Collins affiliation with the for-profit ImPACT Applications, Inc., is mentioned anywhere in the body of the grant proposal and progress reports. I will correct this statement immediately if shown otherwise.
  • One of the more intriguing loops left unclosed by this release is: What happened at the back end? Did UPMC ultimately report out conclusions from its fMRI study? We’ll explore that question as we move along.


Irv Muchnick

The second title in the Concussion Inc. ebook short series, UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero, will be published next month. For information on how to order UPMC and our first ebook, DUERSON, see https://concussioninc.net/?p=5002.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick