The purpose of this research study is to measure and examine the chemicals released in the brain and blood after a head injury. Specifically, blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, the fluids that surround the brain) will be examined to see how biomarkers (the chemicals contained in the fluids) relate to how severe the injury is and recovery after the injury (neurological outcome).

This data will also be related to treatments and scans, CT and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), which are normally taken with this type of injury. Patients with lesser severity injuries and/or minimal symptomatology will be asked to have a higher grade MRI with additional special methods called sequences (imaging of nerve fibers). MRI technology is improving such that nerve fibers that are involved in memory, speech and cognition functions can be seen with additional MRI sequences.

The long term goal of this study is to provide physicians with the tools they need to diagnose brain injuries. This information may help doctors judge how severe a head injury is, if treatment needs to be adjusted, and it may help predict how well a patient recovers from the injury.

People invited to participate in this study must be 18 to 100 years of age. The study is being performed on a total of 3000 brain injured participants from eleven hospitals, including the University of Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, we anticipate enrolling a total of 800 patients

A description of this clinical trial is available on