What is mild traumatic brain injury? Translational definitions to guide translational research

Michael E. Hoffer, Carey D. Balaban

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a disorder that has gained increasing attention in the last several years because of its impact on professional sports and U.S. Servicemembers returning after deployment overseas. In fact, mTBI occurs in all segments of the population and has a significant impact on individuals over a wide range of ages who are injured in a variety of settings. In simplest terms, mTBI is just as the words describe, a brain injury that is mild and caused by trauma. It is essentially synonymous with a concussion. However, in modern usage the term mTBI has taken on more significance and has come to signify not only the injury but all of the associated signs and symptoms, whether physical, emotional, or psychosocial. Much of this new notoriety stems from the fact that the nosology of mTBI is ill defined and, despite a significant amount of study, mechanistic aspects of the disorder are poorly understood. The goal of this chapter is not so much to provide a precise definition but rather to explore how definitions affect the translational scientific approach to advancing diagnosis and care. The chapter appears first to set the tone for this entire volume. In practice the clinician looks at a patient who, after suffering a head injury, and appears “not quite right” (NQR). We ask researchers to figure out how to best diagnose and optimally treat this very heterogenous condition. We hope that this volume helps to focus the field on the task of better defining and treating patients who are NQR after a documented mild traumatic event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurosensory Disorders in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128123447
ISBN (Print)9780128125489
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Concussion
  • Dizziness
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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