DoD, NIH partner to create brain injury database

Wednesday - 8/31/2011, 10:07am EDT

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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Service members on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan are some of the most prone to traumatic brain injuries

The Defense Department recently said that in the past 12 years, more than 200,000 service members, have been diagnosed with TBIs. And the National Institutes of Health reports that the total costs of traumatic brain injury in the United States — including medical care, lost wages and other expenses — exceed $60 billion dollars.

Now, the NIH and the Defense Department are teaming up to create a central database on traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, the deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH, joined the Federal Drive to discuss what exactly the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research database will measures.

Doctors treating brain injuries now make as many as 50 or 60 decisions about treatment a day, Koroshetz said. And for all the training and education the doctors have, because TBIs are have been under-studied, deciding the best treatment option amounts to little more than the best educated guesswork.

The power of the database is in the compiling of vast amounts of data that will allow for valid comparisons of studies and results.

These brain injuries do not only affect soldiers; NIH estimates that as more than a million people sustain them each year from car accidents and falls. And compiling data about treatments and their effectiveness from all of these sources could lead to better outcomes.