Cooling the body and brain after a traumatic brain injury has long been used as a technique to decrease inflammation, potentially minimising the long-term impact of the injury.

Critics of the approach point to its possible complications and the questionable quality of data that evidences its positive effect.

And now, Australian researchers claim it has no positive influence on patient outcomes.

Their study, published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concludes that people who undergo brain cooling have the same ability to live independently as patients managed with their brain at normal temperature.

The study involved 511 people with TBI from six different countries.

In the randomised trial, researchers found the percentage of patients able to live independently six months following brain trauma was the same whether or not brain cooling was used in their treatment.

Death rates at six months were just over 21% in the group who received hypothermia, compared with 18.4% in those with a normal temperature target. Adjusting the data for the severity of the brain injury and different patient groups made no difference to the results.