Army, DOD Experts Discuss Multi-pronged Approach to Brain Injuries
Standing before a select crowd at Fort Detrick, Maj. Pamela DiPatrizio spoke in blunt terms about the Department of Defense's current assessment of traumatic brain injury.
"You don't just suck it up and drive on anymore," she said, "especially with a TBI."
DiPatrizio, the Office of Education Outreach Chief with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, appeared at Fort Detrick Aug. 7 as part of a seminar designed to share updated information on the management and treatment of traumatic brain injury with staff from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Combat Casualty Care Research Program.
"We organized this event, quite simply, to get everybody on the same page with respect to where we stand in the field of TBI," said Dr. Tamara Crowder, Neurotrauma and Traumatic Brain Injury portfolio manager for the CCCRP and chief organizer of the event.
According to DiPatrizio, more than 80 percent of all worldwide DOD TBI cases are diagnosed as mild, while less than two percent of all cases are diagnosed as severe.
"When you're talking about moderate, severe or penetrating TBI, you're not talking about nearly as many," said Dr. Donald Marion, Senior Clinical Consultant with DVBIC, who presented alongside DiPatrizio. "But with more than 325,000 total cases since 2000, you're still talking about a substantial amount of lives for whom recovery may not be complete."
Said Crowder of the more severe cases, "Proper field triage is critical for all patients with suspected TBI, however the more severely injured patients require rapid resuscitation and critical care capabilities to prevent secondary brain injury."
While research continues in addressing the long term effects of severe and penetrating TBI, both DiPatrizio and Marion agree that successful recovery from mild TBI rests on a multi-step approach of education, early detection, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Said DiPatrizio, "Rest and progressive return to activity is the 'new normal' when recovering from TBI."