Education & Research

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also called acquired brain injury or simply head injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

brain injury

Brain Injury Statistics

The leading causes of TBI…

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Of the 1.7 million who sustain a TBI each year in the US…

Treated and Release from ER

Those at highest risk for TBI…


Males are about 1.5 times as likely as females to sustain a TBI


TBI are most common in those aged 75+


Certain military duties increase the risk of sustaining a TBI


African Americans have the highest death rate from TBI

Brain Injury Prognosis

Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness). More serious head injuries may result in stupor, an unresponsive state, but one in which an individual can be aroused briefly by a strong stimulus, such as sharp pain; coma, a state in which an individual is totally unconscious, unresponsive, unaware, and unarousable; vegetative state, in which an individual is unconscious and unaware of his or her surroundings, but continues to have a sleep-wake cycle and periods of alertness; and a persistent vegetative state (PVS), in which an individual stays in a vegetative state for more than a month.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


Rehabilitation Research Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s (SCVMC) Rehabilitation Research Center (RRC) is dedicated to improving patient care by investigating innovative treatments, identifying and promoting factors associated with prevention and resilience, and understanding the continuum of care from acute care through community reintegration.

Rehabilitation Research Center at SCVMC

SCVMC is conducting a study to examine the therapeutic effectiveness of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to restore function after severe TBI.  For more information, please click on the links below:

SCVMC rTMS to Restore Function after Severe TBI


The Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center aims to improve outcomes for TBI patients worldwide by working closely with the Brain Trauma Foundation and other institutions to develop best practice guidelines, conduct clinical research, and educate medical professionals and consumers. The Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center is aligned with the newly established Brain Trauma Evidence-based Consortium (B-TEC), whose primary goal is to conduct clinical research that serves to maximize the understanding of TBI and concussion, as well as integrate it with evidence-based medicine.

Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center

A Study of Modified Stem Cells in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The primary purpose of the clinical study is to evaluate the clinical efficacy of intracranial administration of SB623 cells on patients with chronic motor deficit from Traumatic Brain Injury. A secondary purpose of the study is 1) to evaluate the effect of intracranial administration of SB623 cells on disability parameters and 2) to evaluate the safety and tolerability of intracranial administration of SB623 cells. Patients with stable, chronic motor deficits secondary to focal traumatic brain injury must be 12 months post TBI.

Study of Modified Stem Cells in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)


The purpose of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) is to maintain a comprehensive basic and clinical scientific program in the field of TBI emphasizing translational research to develop effective therapies for head injured patients.

UCLA Brain Injury Research Center


The TBI Research Studies Registry is a listing of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) who would like to participate in current and future TBI research studies.

UCSF created the registry to empower TBI survivors to be proactive about their health and to participate in the discovery of new treatments for TBI.

UC Davis

The Neurology department is committed to translating basic research into real solutions and making them available to patients. That’s why our patient care includes offering the latest treatments through participation in clinical trials. Our researchers take part in national and international clinical trials that offer potentially effective therapies to current patients, as well as hope to future ones. For example, they have helped bring new drugs to patients suffering epilepsyHuntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name just a few.

To learn more about clinical trials in general – including Frequently Asked Questions and information about participating in studies – please visit the pages at Clinical Trials at UC Davis Health System.

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

DVBIC Palo Alto’s clinical investigative research program works in tandem with VAPAHCS and Stanford University at the local and long-term level to address TBI. The ongoing multi-site Prospective Clinical Tracking (CTF) study and Long Term Outcome study uses the vibrant academic community for database development, research projects and education. DVBIC Palo Alto’s local projects also include a study directed towards telephonic testing and women veterans. Recent research efforts include improving diagnostic and treatment strategies for veterans with mild and moderate TBI, leveraging on advanced neuroimaging, therapeutic methods and assistive techniques. An additional focus is devising various methods to better the lives of the aging veteran who has suffered from brain injury.


Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center