US Military Testing New TBI Assessment Tool

By | June 7, 2013

The US Department of Defense is in the process of field testing and validating a portable neurocognitive assessment tool for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) is a portable and “field-hardened” software system that runs on the Android operating system. The DoD is running a formal clinical trial to compare the sensitivity of the DANA tool with the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM) battery, a legacy assessment tool that was panned by the Army Surgeon General as being “no more reliable than a coin toss”.

The DANA field trial encompasses:

  • Active-duty U.S. military service members
  • Clinical diagnosis of concussion/mTBI (as defined by the American Congress of Rehabilitation, 1993, and DoD), made by the treating clinician based on clinical history, examination and/or clinical imaging performed as part of standard of care. This includes subjects with concussion from any mechanism (blast-related, blunt trauma etc.)–for concussed subjects only
  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 15 at the time of consent, as assessed by the consenting research staff–for concussed subjects only
  • Concussive event that occurred within 72 hours of injury

It will be interesting to see if the DANA tool outperforms ANAM, which is generally viewed as unwieldy and unreliable. Given the high risk nature of military work, having an informative and useful field-ready TBI assessment tool would be a great step forward.

See also: Chronic Brain Trauma in Soldiers and Veterans