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NeurotraumaBasic research, clinical care and patients' perspectives
University of Melbourne, Australia
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause long-term physical disability and complex neuro-behavioral effects which disrupt quality of life, employment prospects and interpersonal relationships. Spinal cord injury (SCI) can also cause long-term physical disability and complex complications, which disrupt quality of life, including limiting physical and social mobility, psychological complications (depression... read moreand suicide) and medical complications often due to autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
In addition to the personal and social costs, the financial costs of TBI and SCI are considerable. A recent detailed report by Access Economics estimates that in Australia in 2009 the overall cost of severe TBI and SCI (paraplegia and tetraplegia) was $10.6 billion. The costs per individual case were: moderate head injury $2.7M, severe head injury $4.8M, paraplegia $5.0M, tetraplegia $9.0M. Similar estimates have been published for other countries.
There have been substantial improvements in clinical care in the past 50 years both for TBI and SCI. However, the evidence base for much of the clinical practice is problematic and in spite of a substantial amount of basic research in the past 30 years this has contributed little to improved care and outcome for patients.
This series will cover the current state of clinical care and basic research understanding of the biology of neurotrauma. Particular emphasis will be placed on the evaluation of evidence and aspects such as autonomic dysfunction and rehabilitation following neurotraumatic injuries, that have been somewhat neglected in the past but show considerable potential for improving the lives of patients with TBI or SCI.