Public Release: 

Model System Researchers identify factors linked to mortality after traumatic brain injury

Findings shed light on potential for strategies for prevention and intervention that could improve longevity and quality of life after TBI

Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ - September 28, 2018 - Model system researchers have examined the factors associated with mortality among individuals aged 16 years and older who were more than one year post- traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their article: O'Neil-Pirozzi- T, Ketchum JM, Hammond FM, Phillipus A, Weber E, Dams-O'Connor K. "Physical, cognitive, and psychosocial characteristics associated with mortality in chronic TBI survivors: A National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study" was published by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation 2018 Jul/Aug;33(4):237-245. (doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000365).

The research team, which included investigators from five regional TBI Model Systems, analyzed data from the database of the TBI Model System National Data and Statistical Center. They identified 1,163 decedents and 10,839 matched controls, and examined the following physical, cognitive and psychosocial outcomes: Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale, Disability Rating Scale, Participation Assessment with Recombined Tool Objective, and Satisfaction With Life Scale.

"Among individuals who died, we found significantly poorer performance on all measures," noted co-author Erica Weber, PhD, research scientist in TBI Research at Kessler Foundation, and an investigator with the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System. "Most significant was the difference in FIM Motor scores, which points to independence in mobility as an important factor for long-term survival in this population. Another big difference was in community participation," she added.

The study shows the need for longer and more detailed study of health and lifestyle factors in the TBI population. "By identifying modifiable risk factors, we can develop strategies for prevention and early intervention, which will reduce the risk of death and improve the lives of individuals and caregivers," concluded Dr. Weber.


Article link:

Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (2012P002490, 90DP0084-01-00, 90DP0036-01-00, 90DP0034-01-00, 90DP0032, 90DP0038-02-00).

About the TBI Model System

The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) program, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) , Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supports innovative projects and research in the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of medical, rehabilitation, vocational, and other services designed to meet the needs of individuals with traumatic brain injury. NIDILRR awards TBI Model Systems grants to institutions that are national leaders in medical research and patient care; these institutions provide the highest level of comprehensive specialty services from the point of injury through eventual re-entry into full community life. The current grant cycle supports 15 regional TBI Model Systems across the U.S., including the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System based at Kessler. Each TBI Model System contributes to the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center (TBINDSC), participates in independent and collaborative research, and provides information and resources to individuals with TBI; their families, caregivers, and friends; health care professionals; and the general public.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

Learn more by visiting

Stay Connected

Twitter |

Facebook |

YouTube |

Instagram |

iTunes & SoundCloud |


Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382;

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.