Head injury trials too small to be of benefit

May 11, 2000

Size and quality of randomised controlled trials in head injury: review of published studies

Many millions of people are treated world-wide each year for severe head injury and there are few treatments of established effectiveness. A study in this week's BMJ reports that currently available trials of treatment are too small and too poorly designed to detect or refute reliably moderate but important benefits or hazards of treatment.

Researchers from the Cochrane Injuries Group looked at 208 separate randomised controlled trials with an average number of 82 patients per trial. Doctors treating severe head injuries recognise that improvements in health outcomes of only a few per cent would be important because of the large numbers of patients involved, but most clinical trials would miss treatment effects of this size.

The BMJ paper states: "If a widely practicable treatment reduced the risk of death or disability by 5% then treatment of one million patients would protect 50,000 people from death or disability." None of the trials studied was large enough to detect reliably a 5% absolute reduction in the risk of disability or death. The study's authors say large scale randomised controlled trials could be of considerable importance to public health but that the limited funding for head injury research has been a major obstacle to conducting these trials.

Frances Bunn, Cochrane Injuries Group, Institute of Child Health Email: F.bunn@ich.ucl.ac.uk


Related Disability Articles from Brightsurf:

Raising the bar on disability care
Encouraging paid workers to employ the 'right kind' of respectful personal relationship with young people with disability will lift standards in the sector, experts say.

Keep moving to prevent major mobility disability
According to research, being physically inactive is the strongest risk factor for disability as we age.

How gene mutation causes autism and intellectual disability
Scientists have discovered why a specific genetic mutation causes intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder in children.

Is disability a risk factor for miscarriage?
A new study compared the proportion of women with any cognitive, physical, or independent living disability who experienced a miscarriage during the previous 5-year period to women without disabilities.

'Climate change is a disability rights issue'
In a high-profile Letter in Science, University of Konstanz climate scientist and ecologist Dr Aleksandra Kosanic, an Associate Fellow of the University of Konstanz's Zukunftskolleg, draws attention to the fact that disabled populations have, until now, been absent from international conversations about climate change and its impact.

Predicting frailty, disability and death
In a study led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, researchers analyzed patterns of movement among elderly study participants and found that irregular, spontaneous fluctuations could predict a person's risk of frailty, disability and death years later.

Movement patterns predict frailty and disability in the elderly
Elderly people who show more random changes in daily movement tend to be at greater risk of frailty, disability and death, according to a large study involving 1,275 individuals over the course of 13 years.

IQSEC1 gene mutations cause new intellectual disability syndrome
Researchers identify gene causing intellectual disability syndrome that is common in countries where consanguineous marriages are prevalent.

Best medications to reduce drooling for those with developmental disability
A new study has revealed the most effective medications to reduce drooling in young people with a developmental disability, which can affect their socialisation, relationships and community life.

Obesity worsens disability in multiple sclerosis
Obesity is an aggravating factor in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease.

Read More: Disability News and Disability Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.