Commissioned by the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recover Research (ISCRR) earlier this year, two projects will be led by Monash University’s Professor Jamie Cooper, Director of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre. The studies will share in $100,000 in funding.
The first project will use multi-modal MRI brain imaging to assess and measure outcomes for patients within the first 10 days of injury, while they are heavily sedated in intensive care.
Professor Cooper, of the University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine said Victoria has approximately 200 patients per year with severe TBI and almost a quarter of those patients survive long-term with a severe disability.
“Scanning the patients sooner would allow us to accurately predict the severity of the injury, and provide families with more precise answers,” Professor Cooper said.
“At the moment, we don’t have the ability to do that and it can sometimes be weeks after the injury that a patient is able to be reliably clinically assessed.”
It is hoped the research will lead to national and international programs that improve TBI patient outcomes, decrease the severity of disability for survivors and decrease the burden of costs to the TAC and community.
The second project will investigate the benefits and potential adverse effects of the use of therapeutic hypothermia on traumatic brain injury patients.
TBI patients who are having a cool saline drip administered by paramedics and are being cooled for a further three days with cooling wraps, will be examined in a larger Australian trial.
Professor Cooper said little work had been done in this area and the cooling treatment could prove successful.
“This is an important area in head injury research,” Professor Cooper said.
“At Monash and Alfred, we have been trying to improve the outcomes of TBI patients for more than 20 years.”
ISCRR is a joint venture between Monash University, WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).