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Episode 56: Report Calls For New System For Classifying Traumatic Brain Injury

The earth has changed

It’s like an earthquake just rocked the world of traumatic brain injury.

What am I talking about?

A new report issued by the prestigious, National Academy of Sciences is calling for a new system of classifying traumatic brain injury.  The report entitled, Traumatic Brain Injury, A Roadmap for Accelerating Progress, acknowledges there is no national standard of care for the diagnosis and treatment of TBI. 

The report recognizes that brain injury is not a static condition but rather a condition which can evolve over the lifetime of the individual.  Traumatic brain injury requires ongoing evaluation and treatment.

The report rejects the classification of TBI by the medical profession as “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe”, terms derived from the Glasgow Coma Scale,  saying that his classification system is “outdated, imprecise, and does not effectively serve patients, clinicians, or payers”.  This is something that I have been saying for some time.  There is nothing “mild” about a mild traumatic brain injury.

The report recognizes that not all patients and families have access to the best care or for integrated follow up, as an individual transitions from one level of care to the next over their lifespan. 

The report cites some important information and statistics including, “a year after injury, 51 percent of those experiencing a ‘mild TBI’ report persistent symptoms and functional impairment” and all estimates of the prevalence of TBI underestimate the extent of the problem.

In rejecting the myth that a brain injury has a clear end point with good recovery, the committee stated, “conceiving TBI as an acute event with a clear endpoint also belied the burden it places on families, communities, and workplaces and its substantial financial and social costs”

The report recommends:

  • The creation and implementation of an updated classification system for TBI;
  • Integrated acute and long-term person, and family oriented centered management of TBI;
  • Reduction of unwarranted variability in clinical care to ensure high quality care for all;
  • Enhanced awareness and identification of TBI by health care providers and the public;
  • The establishment and reinforcement of local and regional integrated care delivery systems for TBI;
  • Integrating TBI systems and care into health care teaching programs;
  • The improvement of the quality and range of TBI studies;

And finally

  • The creation and promulgation of a national framework and implementation plan for the improvement of traumatic brain injury care.


Now, lets stop talking and lets get it done.

Audio version

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Brain Injury Insider

michael kaplen
Brain Injury Insider is a weekly video update by The Brain Injury Law Firm ®. We cover the latest news and developments in traumatic brain injury, concussion, and brain injury law.