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Approved Research

Predictors of health outcomes in trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI): utilising the UK Biobank research database

Principal Investigator: Dr Daniel Whitehouse
Approved Research ID: 83961
Approval date: March 3rd 2023

Lay summary

Aims: To assess the impact of head injury on a patient's health and functioning, and to identify characteristics that are associated with ongoing problems.

Scientific Rationale: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Even following a so-called 'mild' injury, a large number of people have ongoing problems including problems with memory, low mood, trouble sleeping, and poor concentration alongside a variety of health conditions including dementia and epilepsy. This can have a significant impact on work and home life with patients often unable to live and work as they had pre-injury. Though there is increasing, and concerning, evidence concerning the impact of head injury, current studies have a limited ability to see the subtle impacts a head injury can make on a patients life in terms of long-term health outcomes and the impact on day-to-day home and work life. This is often due to limited follow-up and a lack of ongoing information. The UK Biobank study presents an opportunity to follow participants over a sustained period, with a large dataset of physical health, mental health, and social outcomes. With a proportion of these participants having a head injury, this allows for estimation of the health and social impact of head injury. Specifically, we will assess general healthcare usage, diagnosis of mental health disease, memory disorder, cognitive disorder, head injury-related health problems, and impact on work/home life.

The Biobank collected a large amount of information via a variety of mechanisms upon recruitment. This included genetic information, brain imaging and an array of questionnaires relating to health and social life. By assessing this, and the ongoing follow-up information, in participants who sustain a head injury we can build a picture of both outcomes and who is at greater risk of having the outcomes of interest. This can then be translated back to day to day clinical practice and help inform clinicians as to who is likely to struggle, and how, following injury.

Project duration: We anticipate the project to be completed in 36 months

Public health impact: To lead to a greater understanding of the true impact of head injury on patients' health and day-to-day functioning, alongside identifying people who are at a greater risk of worse outcomes. This will allow for a greater appreciation of the true scale of impact of a head injury and will provide valuable information to clinicians for the management of ongoing difficulties.