National Study on Young Brain Injury Survivors – A Danish Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Project



Birgitte Hysse Forchhammer


Birgitte Hysse Forchhammer
Maja Worm
Anne Norup
Trine Okkerstrøm Ryttersgaard



The Ministry of Health and Elderly in Denmark founded in 2012 the ‘National study on Young Brain Injury Survivors’ with the aim of investigating rehabilitation needs and recommending rehabilitation services among adolescents and young adults (age 15-30 years) with an acquired brain injury (ABI). As part of the study a national clinical database ‘Danish register for young adults with acquired brain injury’ (with the Danish acronym DRUE) was created. The database comprises interdisciplinary assessments of disabilities, impairments, along with patient-reported outcomes and labor market attachment. The project was concluded ultimo 2017. This symposium will report on clinical experiences as well as results from different studies conducted as part of the national study. This symposium is divided into the following four presentations.

• Establishment of an interdisciplinary effort to investigate rehabilitation needs among young adults and adolescents in Denmark.
This introduction will provide an overview of the health policy background for this national effort for young ABI survivors and present the organization as well as main elements of the study: Nationwide outpatient clinics, a national database, development of specialized expertise and research.

• Clinical characterization and rehabilitation needs in young ABI survivors.
Based on data from the entire national cohort of young brain Injury survivors (n=606) we present results from comprehensive interdisciplinary assessments of physical and cognitive function as well as self-reported outcomes. Secondly, data on rehabilitation needs at baseline and at one-year follow will be presented.

• Fatigue following ABI among adolescents and young adults: prevalence, severity and physical exercise as a possible intervention.
This talk will present the results of several studies investigating fatigue following ABI among adolescents and young adults. In a nationwide study, patients (n=334) reported higher scores than healthy controls (n=168) on subscales of the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory with adjusted mean differences ranging from 1.7 to 4.7 and a higher prevalence of pathological fatigue (73% versus 29%). The results of a pilot study investigating high intensity interval training will be presented.

• Depression among young patients with Traumatic Brain Injury.
Depression is a well-known sequela after TBI with reported prevalence as high as 40-50% in long-term follow-up. According to adolescents and young adults, the literature primarily focuses on depression after mild TBI. To our knowledge, none or only few studies have focused on depression after moderate to severe TBI. This talk will present the results from a systematic literature review on the prevalence of depressive symptoms among adolescents and young adults with a moderate to severe TBI.

• Future perspectives.
Based on our findings we round off the symposium with a series of suggestions on how rehabilitation efforts might be developed and improved for this particularly vulnerable group of young ABI survivors.



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