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Notice to Readers: Heads Up! Tool for Diagnosing and Managing Brain Injury

An estimated 75%--90% of the 1.4 million traumatic brain injury--related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits that occur each year in the United States are concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) (1--5). Clinicians can help prevent MTBI or concussion and improve patient health outcomes with early diagnosis, management, and appropriate referral. However, diagnosing MTBIs can be challenging because certain symptoms are similar to those of other medical conditions (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and headache syndromes), and the onset or recognition of symptoms might not occur until days or weeks after the injury (6).

To aid clinicians in the diagnosis and management of MTBIs, CDC recently updated and revised the Heads Up: Brain Injury in Your Practice tool kit. The free tool kit can be ordered or downloaded at Additional information regarding MTBI is available at, or by e-mail,, or telephone, 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).


  1. CDC. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2006. Available at
  2. CDC. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services. CDC; 2003.
  3. Kraus JF, Nourjah P. The epidemiology of mild, uncomplicated brain injury. J Trauma 1988;28:1637--43.
  4. Luerssen TG, Klauber MR, Marshall LF. Outcome from head injury related to patient's age: a longitudinal prospective study of adult and pediatric head injury. J Neurosurg 1988;68:409--16.
  5. Lescohier I, DiScala C. Blunt trauma in children: causes and outcomes of head versus intracranial injury. Pediatrics 1993;91:721--5.
  6. Kushner D. Mild traumatic brain injury: toward understanding manifestations and treatment. Arch Intern Med 1998;158:1617--24.

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Date last reviewed: 6/7/2007


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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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