COLUMBUS — The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes has allocated $16 million toward a seven-year, multicenter research project led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine that will compare inpatient rehabilitation treatments for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). More than $2.5 million has been awarded for the first year of the project, with the remainder expected to be awarded as the project progresses.
Moderate to severe TBI causes difficulty with cognition, behavior, processing emotions and movement, and can have a devastating impact on an individual’s ability to function independently at home and in the community. Comprehensive interdisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation can maximize function and reduce complications.
Although a wide range of rehabilitation interventions are used, clinicians still grapple with determining which specific interventions are best for their patients.
“The project will fill a critical evidence gap in the rehabilitation of patients with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. Carol R. Bradford, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine. “With growing limitations on healthcare resources and shorter lengths of stay, it’s critical to identify the specific rehabilitation approaches that can optimize outcomes for persons with TBI.”
The “CARE-4-TBI” project involves the Ohio Regional TBI Model System, along with 14 other TBI Model System sites across the United States that provide brain injury care and rehabilitation to assist individuals with returning home and re-entering their community.
“We’ll determine which rehabilitation strategies work best for patients by leveraging the infrastructure of the TBI Model Systems, capturing treatment data from standardized electronic medical records and using advanced statistical methods to compare the effectiveness of different treatment approaches,” said principal investigator Jennifer Bogner, professor and the Bert C. Wiley, MD, Chair in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the Ohio State College of Medicine.
Bogner and Ohio State clinical neuropsychologist and associate professor Cynthia Beaulieu, along with Erinn Hade, biostatistician and associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health, will co-lead this observational study of nearly 1,600 participants. Representatives from the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers in Tampa and Richmond, Va., also will participate to determine how the findings can be best be generalized to VA rehabilitation centers.
“Recent developments in statistical approaches for comparing treatments in non-randomized studies, paired with computational resources, will allow our team to more clearly investigate and differentiate rehabilitation approaches that improve recovery,” said Hade.
Additional Ohio State College of Medicine researchers involved in this project include professor of family medicine Tim Huerta and emeritus professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation John Corrigan.
The TBI Model Systems program was created and funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in 1987 to demonstrate the benefits of a coordinated system of neurotrauma and rehabilitation care and conduct innovative research on all aspects of care for those who sustain traumatic brain injuries.
“The day-to-day capture of therapy session data during acute inpatient rehabilitation will provide needed treatment details not only for the aims of this study, but also for TBI rehabilitation moving forward,” said Beaulieu. “The electronic infrastructure will provide the dynamic data needed to continually develop evidence-based guidelines as treatment evolves and to shift regulations to coincide with the evidence.”