Information regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Service Members and Veterans has just become easier for researchers to access thanks to a joint effort funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) Informatics System now houses data from the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC) examining the long term effects related to mild TBI in individuals who served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn conflicts.
The de-identified clinical assessment data from the consortium’s flagship Longitudinal Cohort Study (LCS) includes more than 1,500 participants, 93 clinical research forms, and 250,000 data points. Study participants were current and former U.S. Service Members with varying histories of TBI from no exposure to more than 15 incidents, from seven VA Medical Centers around the country and one Military Treatment Facility.
“This CENC is an example of how stakeholders from the government, research, and Service member and Veteran communities come together in collaboration to tackle the challenge of long term effects of military-related brain injuries,” said Dr. B. Christie Vu, Health Science Program Manager, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), and the lead for the day-to-day management of the DOD award for the CENC.
The study’s impact will expand with its inclusion in FITBIR. Greater access to the dataset will encourage collaborations, secondary analysis, and could accelerate development of medical solutions for warfighters with TBI. Additional data from the CENC will be added in coming months.
“The efforts of the CENC team are sustained through other research efforts, large and small, but the amount of data collected is greater than any one team’s capacity to address in a short amount of time,” said Vu. “By placing the data in a shared state, others in the research community will be able to look at the CENC data alone and in combination with other available datasets to increase the power of TBI research funded to date.”
Researchers can find information about accessing FITBIR here: https://fitbir.nih.gov/.