NIH and DOD Building a TBI Database

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TBI - Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to a recent article from HealthcareIT News, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD) are building a central database for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Essentially, the idea is to pool together research from different studies on TBIs in order gain a better understanding of TBIs, promote better research, enhance medical knowledge and encourage collaboration among researchers. The database, called the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) database, will include data such as brain scans and neurological test results. Because this type of information is oftentimes sensitive in nature, the data included in the database will be “obtained with informed consent and stripped of any patient identifying information.”
Because no two people are alike, brain injury cases can vary greatly from person to person, particularly with respect to the exact cause and location of the injury, as well as the extent of damage to the brain tissue. As a result, it can be challenging to determine the best method of treatment, what the recovery process will be like, and new therapies that might be effective for people who have experienced a brain injury. However, the FITBIR database has the potential to reduce these challenges by allowing clinicians to collect and compare data from broad range of studies. According to the article, the database will help develop:
• A system of classification for different TBIs
• More targeted studies to determine which treatments are most effective for which patients, and under what circumstances (also known as comparative effectiveness research)
• Better diagnostic criteria for milder brain injuries
• Ways to identify if people have certain genetic markers that might put them at higher risk of developing conditions linked to TBI
• Better understanding of the way age, gender, and other health conditions affect injury and recovery
• Better guidelines for caring for people with brain injuries
The news of the FITBIR database is exciting for researchers, healthcare providers, and people with brain injuries because it means that better tools for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment may be on the horizon. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the FITBIR database is that it shows that the government recognizes TBIs are a pressing problem for a number of people in the United States and there is an urgent need for more effective measures of prevention and treatment.

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.

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