VBIA Concussion Diagnosis Project – Desired Outcomes and Scope, as of July 2020

by Megan Pan

Posted on 20 July 2020 CDP

With mTBI research constantly evolving and new literature constantly being added to the field, we have separated the desired outcomes of the Concussion Diagnosis Project into one high-level outcome and several intermediary outcomes, some of which will be amended as novel techniques become better understood.

As of July 2020, the desired outcomes are as follows:

High level outcome:

To research, publicize, and help facilitate the rollout of an objective, consensus-based mTBI diagnosis method.

Barriers to diagnosis:

  • There will need to be larger controlled sample studies (n > 500) demonstrating a measurable effect on techniques that have been initially investigated.
    • At present, such studies have not kept pace with exploratory research. There remain many novel fields that display promise but cannot be implemented due to lack of data/consensus
    • This includes replication studies that verify existing datasets
  • A far greater number of studies/papers need to be presented at academic conferences, to generate attention and further follow-up
  • Peer-reviewed research pointing toward objective biomarkers must be successfully referenced in a court setting (e.g. litigation), to further cement its clinical and legal applicability
  • Many conferences, research committees, and consensus statements (e.g. The Concussion in Sport Group) are funded by private entities with an explicit conflict of interest (e.g. the NHL). This means that novel techniques that could change our existing state of knowledge often do not see the light of day.
    • Consensus statements released from these working groups are often weak and make few to no recommendations on changes to clinical practices
  • Novel methods need to undergo cost-feasibility assessments before they can be implemented on a wide scale

Raising the question:

“Does there exist a method (or a method that can be combined) that can be applied toward objectively diagnosing mTBI?”

  • Researching and compiling new, emerging, and existing methods for mTBI diagnosis
  • Performing exploratory outreach with researchers, working groups, and other individuals in the field
  • Involving and connecting with international researchers