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Curtin study a potential game-changer for treatment of traumatic brain injury

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Curtin University researchers have been awarded almost $500,000 in Federal Government funding to help improve care for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI), including those in rural, remote and Aboriginal communities.

Professor Melinda Fitzgerald from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) at Curtin University will lead a national and international research team that will design a system to confidentially gather data on treatment and outcomes of TBI in all States and Territories in Australia.

Professor Fitzgerald said moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, which could be caused by road trauma, workplace incidents, acts of violence and falls, was often devastating for those affected and the research ultimately aimed to improve the lives of Australians who experience it.

“Collaboration among health practitioners is essential to advancing the care for TBI patients and it’s vital we all ‘speak the same language’. The information collected through the two-year research program will be shared and used to help personalise care for people with TBI and determine which treatments and care pathways work best for specific symptoms and individuals,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

“In a first for TBI research, the data considered will cover the entire trajectory of people’s journeys, from injury incident to integration back into the community and will include people from across Australia.

“The information will encompass all demographics and span the diversity of presentations of people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, including people with multiple injuries or other conditions, which is also a first for this type of research.

“We will design an informatics approach to collect, link, store, manage and protect the data, thereby securely facilitating researcher access to a world-leading nationally consistent, high-quality linked dataset.”

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the project was important not just because of the need to improve care for people with TBI but because of its potential to form a basis for future research.

“The collected data will stimulate further research to develop more effective evidence-based care for people with traumatic brain injury through improved care pathways and decision-making for patients with moderate to severe TBI,” Professor Moran said.

“These ambitious objectives are achievable thanks to the substantial commitments by our consortium of national and international leaders, Expert Committees and partner organisations in TBI and health informatics.”

Funded by the Medical Research Future Fund Mission for Traumatic Brain Injury, the project is titled ‘An informatics approach to predict outcomes and monitor intervention efficacy following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury’.

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