News of the WeekNeuroscience

New Guidelines Aim to Improve Studies of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Science  16 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5976, pp. 297
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5976.297

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Summary

Despite promising leads from animal research, dozens of drugs intended to protect the brain after injury have failed in clinical trials. Some neurosurgeons think part of the problem is an outdated system used to classify traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients for trials. A new initiative is attempting to improve the way TBI patients are characterized for clinical trials and other studies. A rough draft of new guidelines was released on 1 April by one of the project's sponsors, and a neurosurgeon recently received a $4.1 million grant to study at four U.S. medical centers whether it's feasible to collect up to 500 pieces of information on individual TBI patients and to standardize brain scans and other measurements so they can be compared across centers. If it succeeds, the project's leaders hope the methodology will be widely adopted.