Brussels, 12 June 2014
EU-funded ICT tool to help patients with brain trauma
Traumatic brain injuries affect 1.6 million people in the EU every year. 70,000 don't survive and a further 100,000 are left with a permanent disability. An EU-funded project – with partners in Finland, France, Lithuania and the UK – is collecting data from hundreds of patients who have suffered brain trauma and using it to build software which will improve diagnosis and predict the outcome of treatments.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. It is the most common cause of permanent disability in people under the age of 40 years and the incidence of TBIs has been increasing over the last years, in Europe and worldwide.
The right treatment in the crucial hours following the accident can make all the difference. But diagnosis can be very difficult given the complex nature of the brain and the individual nature of each injury. Researchers from the TBICARE @TBIcare project are developing a tool combining various databases and system simulation. This tool will allow doctors to enter data from tests in the emergency department and will predict the most effective course of treatment for each individual patient.
Dr Mark van Gils, TBICARE’s scientific coordinator, explains that under the project "patients are tested for many different things when they arrive at an emergency department. The care team would look at their awareness and reactivity, and at how much oxygen is in their blood, for example. They also explore the potential of more sophisticated measurements – for example testing for proteins that indicate different types of damage to the patient's brain tissue in their circulation, and using imaging to look for internal bleeding. We want to see which tests give the best indicators of the patient’s likely outcome."
Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, says: "I am proud that EU funds help researchers develop digital tools that can save lives. This project also shows the power of data in solving real-life problems".
€3 million of EU funding has been invested in TBICARE. The project is part of a wider drive – the Virtual Physiological Human Initiative – to use ICT to help clinicians diagnose and treat conditions more effectively. ICT tools pool existing but fragmented data and knowledge on the human body and can be used to model outcomes.
Read the TBICARE story (also in French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish).