Defining Acute Traumatic Encephalopathy: Methods of the "HEAD Injury Serum Markers and Multi-Modalities for Assessing Response to Trauma" (HeadSMART II) Study

Front Neurol. 2021 Dec 8:12:733712. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.733712. eCollection 2021.


Despite an estimated 2.8 million annual ED visits, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a syndromic diagnosis largely based on report of loss of consciousness, post-traumatic amnesia, and/or confusion, without readily available objective diagnostic tests at the time of presentation, nor an ability to identify a patient's prognosis at the time of injury. The recognition that "mild" forms of TBI and even sub-clinical impacts can result in persistent neuropsychiatric consequences, particularly when repetitive, highlights the need for objective assessments that can complement the clinical diagnosis and provide prognostic information about long-term outcomes. Biomarkers and neurocognitive testing can identify brain injured patients and those likely to have post-concussive symptoms, regardless of imaging testing results, thus providing a physiologic basis for a diagnosis of acute traumatic encephalopathy (ATE). The goal of the HeadSMART II (HEAD injury Serum markers and Multi-modalities for Assessing Response to Trauma) clinical study is to develop an in-vitro diagnostic test for ATE. The BRAINBox TBI Test will be developed in the current clinical study to serve as an aid in evaluation of patients with ATE by incorporating blood protein biomarkers, clinical assessments, and tools to measure, identify, and define associated pathologic evidence and neurocognitive impairments. This protocol proposes to collect data on TBI subjects by a multi-modality approach that includes serum biomarkers, clinical assessments, neurocognitive performance, and neuropsychological characteristics, to determine the accuracy of the BRAINBox TBI test as an aid to the diagnosis of ATE, defined herein, and to objectively determine a patient's risk of developing post-concussive symptoms.

Keywords: biomarkers for TBI; diagnosis of TBI; neuropsychiatric testing for TBI; prognosis of TBI; traumatic brain injury.