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Book and Media Review
October 2013

Review of Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury: Challenges and Developments

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology, Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(10):1333. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4071

With heightened media attention and increased research funding, the field of neurotrauma has rapidly expanded over the past decade. Experts in the field consider this the “golden age” of neurotrauma research. Already extensively discussed and widely acknowledged, and at risk of becoming hackneyed, traumatic brain injury has been designated the “signature injury” of current military conflicts. Less widely disseminated and acknowledged in the lay media are data on the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries, as well as the societal and economic burdens that civilian neurotrauma places on both developed and developing societies alike. Despite implementation of effective preventive measures in developed countries, neurotrauma, primarily from accidents, remains the most common cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly among male adolescents and adults who are poised to enter the prime of their lives. Effective medical therapies, in addition to surgical therapies, are still desperately needed for these devastating injuries. This is a timely book that comprehensively and cohesively reviews the myriad advances in neurotrauma research, including areas of ongoing, promising research in traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, with a focus on medical therapies. The editors convened a stellar group of international experts (neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, physiatrists, and neurointensivists) from both academia and industry to review the multiple avenues of research into potential therapies for neurotrauma. The textbook is enhanced because of its global perspective, especially in the 2 chapters on the epidemiology of traumatic brain injuries and of traumatic spinal cord injuries at the beginning of each of the 2 sections devoted to these injuries, respectively. This book is relevant not just for medical communities in developed countries but also for medical communities in developing countries. Despite the challenges of remaining current in a rapidly expanding and developing field, this textbook should be informative to research scientists and clinicians worldwide.

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