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Science Education: Physical Trauma and Sepsis

Heart rate irregularitiesStudies on physical trauma and sepsis, the body's overwhelming immune response to severe injury or infection, focus on questions like:

  • What changes occur immediately and over time when a person is critically ill or injured?
  • Why does the immune system go into overdrive?
  • How can we improve diagnosis and treatment strategies?

Follow the links below to learn more about physical trauma and sepsis,including recent developments, and read profiles of researchers working in these areas.

Fact Sheets

Heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight, or nuclear radiation can cause tissue-damaging burns. Get answers to questions about burns and related treatments and research.

Car accidentPhysical Trauma
Physical trauma is a serious injury to the body. Learn more about basic research related to trauma.

Scanning electron micrograph of bacteriaSepsis | En español
An overwhelming immune response to infection can cause sepsis. Get more information about sepsis and what we're learning about it.

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Science Highlights

Sarah DunsmoreSepsis: The Body’s Deadly Response to Infection
Program director Sarah Dunsmore describes the deadly medical condition sepsis and the research NIGMS is doing to reduce its impact.

Quicker Sepsis Treatment Saves Lives: Q & A With Sepsis Researcher Christopher Seymour
Physician scientist Christopher Seymour talks about his experience treating sepsis patients and his new study indicating that quicker treatment improves survival odds.

New Technology May Help Reduce Serious and Costly Post-Surgical Infections—Using Nothing but Air
A new device for filtering the air above incision sites may help prevent thousands of post-surgery infections and save millions in health care costs.

More science highlights

Profiles: Meet a Scientist

Alfred Atanda Jr.Game Changer
Pediatric orthopedic surgeon examines the causes of elbow injuries in young baseball pitchers.

Kevin TraceyFor Janice: Legacy of a Short Life
Neurosurgeon and immunologist Kevin Tracey studies why our immune systems cause illness.

Cynthia OttoDogging Sepsis
Veterinarian Cynthia Otto studies sepsis, a dramatic, full-body reaction to an injury or illness.

More profiles

Audio and Video

Scott SomersDr. Scott Somers on Trauma
NIGMS' Scott Somers talks about what happens to the body after a serious physical injury.

Kevin TraceyDr. Kevin Tracey on Sepsis
Kevin Tracey describes how he became interested in studying sepsis and what scientists have learned about the condition.

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Virtual snow world A World Without Pain
Interactive virtual reality environment called “Snow World” reduces the pain experienced by burn patients.

Cross-section of skin anatomy shows layers and different tissue types.Skin Cross-Section
Cross-section of skin anatomy shows layers and different tissue types.

Heart rates time seriesHeart Rates Time Series
These time series show the heart rates of four different individuals.

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This page last reviewed on November 2, 2017