Past, Present, and Future of Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Gregory W.J. Hawryluk, M. Ross Bullock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the greatest cause of death and severe disability in young adults; its incidence is increasing in the elderly and in the developing world. Outcome from severe TBI has improved dramatically as a result of advancements in trauma systems and supportive critical care, however we remain without a therapeutic which acts directly to attenuate brain injury. Recognition of secondary injury and its molecular mediators has raised hopes for such targeted treatments. Unfortunately, over 30 late-phase clinical trials investigating promising agents have failed to translate a therapeutic for clinical use. Numerous explanations for this failure have been postulated and are reviewed here. With this historical context we review ongoing research and anticipated future trends which are armed with lessons from past trials, new scientific advances, as well as improved research infrastructure and funding. There is great hope that these new efforts will finally lead to an effective therapeutic for TBI as well as better clinical management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-396
Number of pages22
JournalNeurosurgery clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Big data
  • Clinical trials
  • History
  • Research
  • Secondary injury
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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