The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Friday, February 22, 2019

NSF Funds New Study to Help Prevent Brain Injury Deaths

How many people die each year due to traumatic brain injuries?


Traumatic brain injuries result from blows to the head or penetrating head injuries that impact the normal function of the brain.  TBIs can occur when the head suddenly hits another object, or when an object pierces the skull. These injuries range in severity, and an estimated 1.7 million patients will suffer from a TBI each year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Approximately 5.3 million people across the U.S. are living with a disability caused by a TBI and TBIs are considered a leading cause of death among adults and children under the age of 44. 

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Traumatic brain injuries can stem from any number of causes.  Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include car crashes, falls, sports injuries, and acts of violence.  While sometimes TBIs are the result of pure accidents, other times they stem from personal injuries caused by the negligence of others

New Research for Treating TBIs 


To help prevent TBI deaths and disabilities, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded a research study.  As part of the study, an associate professor with the Department of Computer Science and researchers from the Discovery Analytics Center plan to use a new computational model to identify and classify traumatic brain injury patients.  The computer model will further recommend treatments for patients based on their specific injuries and predict both short and long term outcomes.  


The research study represents a cutting edge intersection between medicine and computer technology.  For physicians, one of the greatest challenges to treating a TBI patient is that no two injuries are the same.  This makes it hard for doctors to know what to anticipate after an injury. The hope is that with new computer algorithms, doctors can better know what trajectory a brain injury patient is likely to take and what treatments could halt a negative outcome. 


Once perfected, the new tools created from the NSF funded study will be shared with other critical care doctors nationwide. With this study and other pioneering studies into the causes and treatment of traumatic brain injuries, it is hoped that the overall number of TBI related deaths and long term disabilities will decrease in time. 


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