New Study Focuses on Pediatric Disability After Brain Injury

The incidence of disability in children following traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be the focus of a new study by investigators at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


The incidence of disability in children following traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be the focus of a new study by investigators at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant that will allow the researchers to:

  • Determine the incidence of mild, moderate, and severe TBI in children and adolescents 0-18 years of age
  • Determine the disability from different severities of TBI in children of different age groups
  • Determine how this disability changes over time after injury
  • Identify risk and protective factors for disability from TBI

“This study will address many of the unanswered questions surrounding pediatric TBI,” says Dr. Fred Rivara, the study’s principal investigator.

“While previous population-based studies have estimated the incidence of TBI, they have not provided population-based estimates of subsequent disability. This information is important for the appropriate planning and delivery of services to children disabled by TBI.

The study will involve 1000 patients, 0-18 years of age, with mild, moderate or severe TBI. Subjects will be identified in emergency departments, hospitals and medical examiners in King County, Wash., and Philadelphia County, Pa.

This sample will be stratified by severity and age to allow adequate numbers of individuals at each severity level and each age group for study.

The researchers will examine patient and family disability pre-injury and at 3, 12, 24, and 36 months post-TBI. This will include quality of life, social, emotional, behavioral and academic disability in patients and family functioning and parenting stress.

In addition to Rivara, co-investigators are Drs. Monica Vavilala, Tom Koepsell and Ken Jaffe; and Nancy Temkin, Ph.D. (all of the University of Washington); and Dr. Dennis Durbin from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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