Prognosis for mild traumatic brain injury: results of the WHO Collaborating Centre Task Force on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

J Rehabil Med. 2004 Feb;(43 Suppl):84-105. doi: 10.1080/16501960410023859.


We searched the literature on the epidemiology, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and costs of mild traumatic brain injury. Of 428 studies related to prognosis after mild traumatic brain injury, 120 (28%) were accepted after critical review. These comprise our best-evidence synthesis on prognosis after mild traumatic brain injury. There was consistent and methodologically sound evidence that children's prognosis after mild traumatic brain injury is good, with quick resolution of symptoms and little evidence of residual cognitive, behavioural or academic deficits. For adults, cognitive deficits and symptoms are common in the acute stage, and the majority of studies report recovery for most within 3-12 months. Where symptoms persist, compensation/litigation is a factor, but there is little consistent evidence for other predictors. The literature on this area is of varying quality and causal inferences are often mistakenly drawn from cross-sectional studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advisory Committees
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • World Health Organization