What we learned: Brain Injury Technologies Think Tank 2017, London

On October 17th we presented our work to the Brain Injury Technologies Think Tank in London. The event was organised by the NIHR Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC) and brought together researchers, practitioners, companies, funding bodies and NHS representatives. Aim of the event was to initiate collaborations and to mix skills and expertise to deliver novel technological solutions for the brain injury patient pathway.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is a major cause of death and disability in the UK and worldwide with approximately 35 000 children admitted following an ABI annually in the UK from traumatic causes alone. Non-traumatic brain injuries are less consistently defined but estimated to effect 82.3 children per 100 000 each year. The acute management of these children has improved significantly in recent years. However, while there is agreement that rehabilitation is required after such an injury, services remain variable and the exact components of optimal clinical management are not well understood.

 

Karen Livingstone speaking about Bridging the Gap: Supporting the Clinical-Industry Partnership

 

The event was divided in three sections
· Session 1: Unmet Needs Identification – Sharing the evidence-base from both a clinical and industry perspective.

· Session 2: Technology Showcase – Slots for SMEs, start up and project teams to showcase relevant technologies in the field and for interactive Q&A with the expert audience.

· Session 3: Panel Discussion – Horizon scanning with relevant funding bodies and research councils.

 

Key points:
There is a great need for access to medical and therapy expertise close(r) to home. Travelling for therapy is expensive and inconvenient and leaves many children with inadequate care.
The families, schools and healthcare professionals need to have a shared understanding of the child’s needs as they progress through recovery, yet this is a complex task. Information packages are needed as well as coordination

There are plenty of support structures for affected families, yet families and professionals are unaware of available resources and support.

Family and professional often need to bring in solutions but they do not know what is available and if it is effective. Therefore there is a need to establish centres for rehabilitation technology evaluation, advice and coordination of services and research

Established belief has been that because the brain of younger children has high plasticity, the effects of brain injury at a younger age are easier to overcome, compared to brain injury at a later stage. This nevertheless is not the case as the young brain lacks the structure upon which the skills are to be regained.

There are several data related shortcomings and these pose significant challenges to researchers. There is increasing amount of data for brain injury cases (and healthcare in general) yet there are questions on the data robustness. Moreover data is often stored in isolated silos and this hinders progress, and public opinion and consensus on the use of data suffers.

 

The companies that presented their work were

 

For further information on the event, check the  NIHR Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Co-operative post  here

Photo:Karen Livingstone speaking about Bridging the Gap: Supporting the Clinical-Industry Partnership found here