Commentary| Volume 91, ISSUE 11, P1692-1696, November 2010

Common Data Elements for Research on Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health: Current Status and Future Development


      Whyte J, Vasterling J, Manley GT. Common data elements for research on traumatic brain injury and psychological health: current status and future development.
      The National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center jointly supported an effort to develop common data elements (CDEs, ie, consensus-based content domains of importance and recommended ways to measure them) for research on traumatic brain injury and psychological health. The authors served as participants in this effort as well as editors of the resulting articles. This article describes the current status of this multiagency endeavor, the obstacles encountered, and possible directions for future development. Challenges that occurred within the working groups that developed the CDE recommendations and similarities and differences among the articles that describe those recommendations were reviewed. Across all of the working groups, there were challenges in striking a balance between specificity in recommendations to researchers and the need to tailor the selection of variables to specific study aims. The domains addressed by the different working groups varied in the research available to guide the selection of important content areas to be measured and the specific tools for measuring them. The working groups also addressed this challenge in somewhat different ways. The CDE effort must enhance consensus among researchers with similar interests while not stifling innovation and scientific rigor. This will require regular updating of the recommendations and may benefit from more standardized criteria for the selection of important content areas and measurement tools across domains.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      CDE (common data element), DVBIC (Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center), NIDRR (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research), NINDS (National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke), PH (psychological health), PTA (posttraumatic amnesia), PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury)
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