Traumatic brain injuries and neuro-monitoring – Eric Thelin's research group

Our research mainly revolves around translational and clinical research in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The clinical research involves epidemiological studies but also prospective studies at Karolinska University Hospital. Areas of special interest are neuroinflammation, biomarkers of injury, imaging and neuromonitoring in acute brain injuries. The research is conducted with both local and international partners.

Traumatic brain injury and neuro-monitoring

About our research

Today, traumatic brain injury is one of the most common causes of death as well as why people are living with acquired disabilities. Currently, there is a lack of well-established medical treatments for patients with TBI. Therefore, advancing the research into improved management of TBI is very important. Our overall goals are to better understand the underlying damage mechanisms at TBI and how we can best monitor these and in the long run find ways to improve treatment based on this.

Research project

Stockholm score of lesion development on computerized tomography following mild traumatic brain injury - SELECT-TBI

In collaboration with the emergency hospitals in Region Stockholm, we are trying to create improved predictions models in order to determine which patients that will have lesions on computerized tomography after mild traumatic brain injury. As a secondary aim, we want to study those that deteriorate and require escalated levels of care (e.g. transfer to a neurosurgical center). This multicenter study is done in collaboration with Norrtälje Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Danderyd Hospital, Södersjukhuset and St. Göran's Hospital.

New diagnostic tools and treatment for Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and small vessel disease

Together with a number of researchers, including Maria Eriksdotter, Per Nilsson, Urban Lendhal and Helena Karlström (Karolinska Institutet) we intend to study how vessels and associated inflammatory cells are affected in human and preclinical models in a number of different neurological diseases. Our hope is that we will better develop markers to see how affected patients become from, among other things, neurodegeneration after these types of diseases.

Proteomic profiling after traumatic brain injury

We also have ongoing projects with Professor Peter Nilsson at SciLifeLab, Kungliga tekniska högskolan (KTH), where we use protein arrays to profile protein expression of several proteins as well as inflammatory mediators from different body fluids in patients with traumatic brain injury. The goal here is to study different types of damage mechanisms after the traumatic brain injury, including how the blood-brain barrier is affected and how different inflammatory proteins interact.

Neuroinflammation in traumatic brain injury

This research is mainly ongoing at the University of Cambridge, UK.  We collaborate on human studies involving anti-inflammatory medications with the goal of improving the quality of life after injury. We also collaborate in pre-clinical in vitro studies where cell cultures are exposed to the same type of neuroinflammatory stimulation you see in humans in the brain after injury.


Long-term follow-up after traumatic brain injury (Long-TBI)

While there seems to be an association between neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation following traumatic brain injury, the exact implications are unknown. Therefore, we want to follow up patients 10-15 years after the initial injury to study whether patients with more severe injuries have an increased inflammatory activity. This will partly be studied with new radiological techniques, but also by studying different proteins, cellular processes, and metabolites in body fluids to see if these are affected several years after the brain injury.


Research support

Currently, the research in the group is supported from:

Region Stockholm
Erling-Persson Family Foundation
Strategic research area neuroscience (StratNeuro).

Previous funding bodies include:

The Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden, Mattsons Stiftelse)
The Swedish Society for Medical Research (Svenska Sällskapet för Medicinsk Forskning)
The Swedish Society of Medicine (Svenska Läkaresällskapet).

Denna sida på svenska


Selected publications

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group


We  have a number of different collaborative projects, both nationally and internationally.

Some of our local collaborators include:

  • David Nelson (Fyfa, Karolinska Institutet (KI)) on research on neuro-imaging and neurointensive care,
  • Rebecka Rubenson-Wahlin (SÖS, KI) on pre-hospital and emergency care of patients with traumatic brain injuries and
  • Fredrik Piehl (CNS, KI) on neuroinflammation and biomarkers of brain injury.

Nationally, we have a long-established collaboration with:

  • Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow (University of Gothenburg) for protein biomarkers and
  • Matej Oresic (Örebro University) for metabolites as biomarkers after injury.

Internationally, we collaborate with:

  • Adel Helmy (University of Cambridge, UK) on neuroinflammation,
  • Rahul Raj (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Fred Zeiler (University of Manitoba, Canada) for improved monitoring after traumatic brain injury, among other things with the help of artificial intelligence,
  • Rahul Raj (University of Helsinki, Finland) and
  • Frederick Zeiler (University of Manitoba)