A clear, concise definition of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is fundamental for reporting, comparison, and interpretation of studies on TBI. Changing epidemiologic patterns, an increasing recognition of significance of mild TBI, and a better understanding of the subtler neurocognitive neuroaffective deficits that may result from these injuries make this need even more critical. The Demographics and Clinical Assessment Working Group of the International and Interagency Initiative toward Common Data Elements for Research on Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health has therefore formed an expert group that proposes the following definition: TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. In this article, we discuss criteria for considering or establishing a diagnosis of TBI, with a particular focus on the problems how a diagnosis of TBI can be made when patients present late after injury and how mild TBI may be differentiated from non-TBI causes with similar symptoms. Technologic advances in magnetic resonance imaging and the development of biomarkers offer potential for improving diagnostic accuracy in these situations.
- Brain injuries
- Stress disorder