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veski hosts world renowned neuroscientist
In March 2017, Professor Maas visited Australia as the guest of veski, Neurosciences Victoria, Monash University and the University of Melbourne to connect with leaders in traumatic brain injury at a veski conversation.
Professor Maas also delivered a veski masterclass and participated in a veski kickstart event sharing career advice and pathways with Victoria’s up and coming researchers.
Australia’s top sports, veterans’ affairs, traffic accident and academic leaders came together to meet with global specialist, Professor Andrew Maas, on the important topic of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as part of a series of events hosted by veski during his recent visit to Australia.
Representatives from the Australian Football League, Jockeys’ Association, Professional Footballers Australia, Traffic Accident Commission and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs joined academics and Australia’s own top neuroscientists at a veski conversation hosted by veski chair, Professor Ian Smith where they heard candid insights and the latest international learnings and best practice from Professor Maas.
The conversation explored the huge public health burden caused by TBI, which has a worldwide cost of more than US$50 million per year, with data from New Zealand, Canada and the US revealing a rate of TBI incidences of approximately 900 per 100 000. The group also discussed the change in causes of TBI, with motor vehicle crashes becoming less of a cause of TBIs due to prevention, while falls take the lead and continue to increase with an ageing population. Other causes of TBI include bicycle accidents, assaults and sports injuries with the latter causing a higher proportion of mild TBIs.
In recent years, Australian sporting codes have stepped up their focus on concussion management as research and international experiences highlight the long-term impacts of TBI. Across Australian football codes, the probability of concussion is approximately one in seven players, and concussion management protocols are now widely practiced and promoted.
Likewise, defence forces around the world have an increased focus on TBI, as the recent increase in the use of explosive devices in armed conflict has added a new mechanism of injury, blast injury, to combatants – the effects of which are the focus of considerable research.
A neurosurgeon hailing from The Netherlands, Professor Maas has dedicated his career to improving knowledge and treatment of TBI and neuro-intensive care.
Professor Maas is the Project Coordinator of the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI. Known as CENTER-TBI, it is a collaboration of 44 scientific institutes across Europe, North America, New Zealand, China and Australia, and includes an observational study in 68 sites from 20 European countries and Israel. Professor Maas is the intermediary between the European Commission and the Consortium with responsibility for all scientific activities of the consortium.
Throughout the veski conversation Professor Maas talked about the importance of collaboration in improving patient care.
“It was great to have a focussed discussion on how all Australian key players can work together to reduce the instance of traumatic brain injury and apply the latest research to deliver improved health, quality of life and social integration to those who suffer traumatic brain injuries,” Professor Maas said.
“Bringing people together is an important step but we now need to determine what’s needed for the next 25 years”.
Maas is professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Antwerp, Co-Chairs the European Brain Injury Consortium and is Chairman of the Neurotraumatology Committee of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies.