The Illuminating Neuropsychological Dysfunction and Systemic Inflammatory Mechanisms Gleaned After Hospitalization in Trauma-ICU Study

Cognitive skills are essential to live independently, manage finances, maintain employment, and function in society. Loss of these cognitive skills (cognitive impairment) puts a tremendous burden on society as seen with dementias, Alzheimer's disease, and traumatic brain injury. We have shown that 50% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients without brain injury ended up with cognitive impairment likely due to delirium. Shockingly, these patients ended up unemployed one-year later. But, the complex injured patient is at risk for having both a primary traumatic brain injury and a secondary brain injury in the ICU (delirium). Prior research on cognitive impairment has not taken into account the combined roles of delirium and traumatic brain injury together.

The INSIGHT-ICU Study is the first comprehensive long-term cognitive impairment study after traumatic injury and critical illness. This study is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Science. It will measure both traumatic brain injury and delirium.  The societal impact of long-term cognitive impairment after trauma is immense given that these patients are young and constitute a large proportion of employable adults.