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Brain Injury Research Program

The Brain Injury Research Program is led by neuropsychologist Michael McCrea, PhD, Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology. The program was established in 2011 and focuses on investigating the acute and chronic effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). With funding from the Department of Defense, National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sources, current research employs basic and applied methods to study civilian, military and sport-related brain injury. Ongoing projects include neurocognitive assessment of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), advanced multi-modal MRI techniques; head impact research; and determining the short- and long-term effects of mTBI and concussion.

This screening and registry protocol is designed to facilitate subject recruitment for the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) sponsored clinical research studies on traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and participating CNRM sites. This protocol will serve as a first step for evaluating subjects for possible inclusion in CNRM sponsored natural history, observational, or interventional protocols. Other approved CNRM protocols may continue to recruit subjects directly into their respective studies, and may refer subjects to this study.

The objective of this protocol is to develop a subject recruitment database that will house preliminary data on research subjects who are interested in and potentially eligible for current and future CNRM sponsored protocols. The effectiveness of the recruitment methods utilized in this protocol will be evaluated to determine the most successful outreach approaches and recruitment tools for the enrollment of TBI or post concussive study subjects.

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Study Population

This protocol will enroll 2500 male and female adult subjects with signs/symptoms or diagnosis of TBI or post-concussive syndrome, from participating sites, other CNRM sponsored protocols and within the community using various methods of outreach and advertisement.


This study involves an initial study visit conducted in one of two ways: at the NIH Clinical Center,or at the participating site. Subjects enrolled acutely and/or at a participating site may also be provided the option to complete an additional visit at the NIH CC after their initial visit. Based on the information obtained during the initial study visit, the subject will be referred to appropriate CNRM protocols for further protocol-specific screening prior to enrollment, or informed that s/he is not eligible for any other actively enrolling CNRM studies at this time. Study procedures may include: physical exam, medical history, nursing evaluation, questionnaires completed by interview, blood and urine sample collection, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Follow-up visits will be conducted by telephone at regular intervals for a year, and then ad hoc at potential referral eligibility to update contact information and collect outcome data. No treatment is offered under this protocol.

Outcome Measures

The outcome measures include accrual of subjects, retention of enrolled subjects and loss to follow-up, and referral number and rate of enrolled subjects to other CNRM studies. In addition, we will evaluate the frequency and certainty of injury classification (possible, probable, or definite TBI).


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