Brain1

Traumatic brain injury is a serious issue in Canada.  Every day many individuals suffer brain injuries in car accidents, slips and falls, sports accidents and strokes.  The cost of dealing with brain injuries is financially high but also extremely high for families and loved ones.

A new study out of the states has the potential to change the manner in which brain injuries are treated and in the process improve the outcome.  The potential symptoms from a brain injury are varied and can include cognitive, physical and mental.  And these symptoms affect each individual differently.  An almost infinite list of factors, including the intensity of treatment, the combination with other types of treatment and pre injury factors like age or family support can affect outcome.  There isn’t a “typical” brain injury patient.  Because of all of these variables, rehab is incredibly difficult to study.

The new study in the states has been a practice based study, in which the treatment administered to thousands of brain injury patients has been carefully documented, as well as the recovery.  Those results have now been the subject of a number of papers which are helping to understand how recovery can affect outcome.  The database that has resulted from this study is the contribution from over 1000 clinicians with notes on over 350,000 therapy sessions.  Some of the immediate applicable findings from the study include the following:

  1.  The shorter the time from injury to rehab, the better the outcome.
  2. Its not the amount of therapy that matters but the intensity.
  3. Feeding tubes help.  Motor and cognitive outcomes were significantly better in patients who had been fed a high protein diet.

This practice based study is an exciting step in understanding and improving treatment of brain injuries and with a data base this size has the potential to yield many more important findings.