Researchers awarded $12 million to study traumatic brain injury

The Department of Defense-funded consortium led by Jamshid Ghajar will work to establish rigorous, evidence-based diagnosis and treatment guidelines for brain trauma.

Jamshid Ghajar

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $12 million over a three-year period to the School of Medicine to establish a multi-institutional consortium to develop a new brain-trauma classification system that will lead to effective diagnostics and therapeutics.

The principal investigator for the grant is Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD, clinical professor of neurosurgery and director of the Stanford Concussion Center. The consortium will involve a number of Stanford researchers, as well as colleagues at the Brain Trauma Foundation, a recognized world leader in evidence-based severe brain trauma guidelines.

Traumatic brain injury, including concussions, is the leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults around the world, according to the World Health Association. While millions of concussions occur annually, only a small proportion of clinical studies have incorporated evidence-based methods, yielding little data to improve concussion diagnosis. A key goal of the consortium is to leverage existing studies and advise future studies in order to develop evidence-based guidelines for the screening, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of brain trauma across the spectrum of severity from concussion to coma.

“Large, well-conducted clinical studies appear to have accomplished extensive data collection and could hold valuable information that can contribute to the evidence base for a concussion-classification system,” Ghajar said. “However, the publications do not report the raw data in a way that can be used to develop evidence-based guidelines. We plan to partner with investigators and methodologists from the field of systems science to conduct extensive data-mining analyses of these rich sources of information.”

As part of the consortium, a clinical-research coordinating and training center — housed at Stanford and directed by Kenneth Mahaffey, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and vice chair of clinical research in the Department of Medicine, with Jessica Little, PhD, clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery — will reach out to investigators and work directly with them to ensure that their studies deliver high-quality, reliable data to the evidence-based work of the consortium.


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