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A New Treatment Approach to Traumatic Brain Injury

Categories: Rehabilitation and Recovery

The Question

Could a new treatment approach for TBI improve patient outcomes and reduce costs?


Most traumatic brain injuries are mild and most people fully recover from their injury. However, a smaller group of people who have had a more severe TBI may have some long-term problems that result from their original injury. These problems can include physical limitations or problems with thinking. Experts in brain injury recovery are recommending a new treatment approach to help identify any long-term problems, improve patient outcomes, and reduce overall costs.

This Study

The authors recommend that a new approach be created to treat these patients with long-term or worsening problems. A “disease management” approach is used for other long-term health conditions like diabetes. The authors hope that creating a new disease management approach for brain injury would help provide better care to these patients with long-term problems. In order to create a new disease management approach, more research is needed to answer these important questions:

– Who is at risk and who is not at risk for long-term problems?
– How can we best identify any long-term problems?
– What problems can be treated if found early?
– What problems could be prevented/reduced through early interventions?
– Which treatments work?
– What are the benefits of healthy behaviors?
– How can we give education and training to these patients?

To move forward, there needs to be more research in this area. We need research that looks at these patients over many years, studies that show which strategies are most helpful, and studies that look at the cost of treatments.

Bottom line

New studies show that some patients who have had a more severe TBI may have health problems that continue or get worse over time. This creates extra challenges for these patients and families. More research will help create a new treatment approach that provides better care to these patients and improves patient outcomes.

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Find This Study

Corrigan, J. D., & Hammond, F. M. (2013). Traumatic brain injury as a chronic health condition. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(6), 1199-1201. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2013.01.023


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