Can predictive markers assist in early detection of children at risk for persisting symptoms and their response to prevention and intervention?

MRFF Research Grant – 2020 MRFF Traumatic Brain Injury Mission

Grant Duration: 3 years

Administering Institution: Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Concussion accounts for more than 95% of all traumatic brain injury, with 20% of all children sustaining a concussive injury before age 10. Due to the immaturity of the developing brain, children and adolescents are uniquely vulnerable, even to mild injury, and ~40% suffer slow and incomplete recovery.

In keeping with MRFF TBI goals to address knowledge gaps and translate novel findings into enhanced personalised care, we will improve personalised management of child concussion, identify mechanisms underpinning persisting post-concussion symptoms (PCS) and their recovery, establish associations between these mechanisms, early PCS recovery and persisting PCS, improve community access to timely, accurate diagnosis and symptom-targeted acute management, develop and trial multidisciplinary, symptom-targeted treatments to reduce persisting PCS.

To achieve these goals, we will conduct a research program which:

a) builds on current evidence including findings from our team;

b) incorporates multiple inter-related studies that span discovery to translation;

c) utilise state-of-the-art technologies and tools;

d) measure costs of concussion; and

e) partner with community, commercial and clinical stakeholders to maximise implementation of our findings.

We will establish a multisite, prospective, longitudinal cohort of children with concussion and conduct 3 studies, linking predictive biomarkers to recovery profiles and to individual responses to prevention and treatment.

This work will deliver:
• New knowledge: quantitative markers to accurately predict risk of persisting PCS
• Commercial products: novel, free, accessible at point of care
• Personalised care: Effective symptom-targeted treatments
• Optimal outcomes: faster PCS resolution & return to activity
• Reduced health care utilisation
• Rapid translation of findings into community contexts and clinical workflows.