Traumatic Brain Injury and Long-term Outcomes




The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma (CENC) Consortium Epidemiology Study focuses on the effects of mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) on neurodegenerative disease and other comorbidities, including methods to treat and rehabilitate adverse effects of mTBI so as to reduce the risk of long-term consequences and improve daily functioning. Dr. Yaffe is one of multiple PIs on this project, and numerous CPBH faculty are co-investigators.


Defining Clinical Trajectories after Traumatic Brain Injury, Dr. Gardner's research program, is dedicated to understanding the effects of both recent and remote TBI on the aging brain with the goal of improving neurological outcomes among aging TBI-exposed patients. She is conducting a number of exciting investigations including: 1) Determining predictors of progressive cognitive, motor, or behavioral decline versus resilience after remote TBI among older adults; 2) Determining predictors of progressive cognitive, motor, or behavioral decline versus resilience after recent TBI among older adults; 3)Developing a novel data-driven analytic approach to identify a flexible set of optimized multi-domain TBI clinical outcome measures and TBI patient stratification models that will lead to improved precision drug trials, improved clinical care, and ultimately improved long-term outcomes in TBI patients; and 4) Developing and validating an efficient, low-cost, scalable web-based instrument for evaluating lifetime exposure to TBI among diverse older adults.

Blood Biomarker Profile of TBI-Cognitive Impairment in Older Veterans  The goal of this project is to examine blood-based biomarkers in a group of older veterans with and without traumatic brain injury (TBI) and with and without cognitive impairment. The veterans were all part of the Brain Aging in Veterans (BRAVE) Study. Study participants received an in person visit including TBI and medical history, cognitive testing, and a blood draw. Biomarker profiles will be compared between groups of participants to determine whether differences occur between older veterans with and without TBI and cognitive impairment. The results of this study may help us understand the underlying pathology of TBI-associated cognitive impairment.

Genetics, comorbidities, and ethnicity: Effects of TBI on dementia  This project examines the effects of genetics, comorbidities, and ethnicity on dementia after TBI. This grant is a partnership between Dr. Yaffe and Dr. Brenda Plassman at Duke University. They will utilize two established epidemiological dataset to investigate factors associated with adverse cognitive outcomes among veterans with head injuries. Dr. Yaffe’s VA TBI Cohort contains nearly 2 million veterans receiving care from the VA, including all veterans with a TBI diagnosis. Dr. Plassman’s Twin Registry consists of male WWII veterans, has information on TBI history, and will provide the ability to account for early life exposures and genetics. Overall this study will examine the interrelationship between TBI and cognitive health in older veterans with the overarching goal of identifying factors that predispose veterans to dementia after TBI and strategies we can pursue to mitigate this risk.