Traumatic Brain Injury and Premature Death

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A JAMA study published in January concluded that people that have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI) were more likely to experience a premature death, which is defined as dying before 56 years of age.

The researchers followed everyone born in 1954 and later in Sweden that had been treated medically (outpatient or inpatient) for TBI between the years of 1969 and 2009.  The total number of people followed under these criteria was 218,300.  The researchers looked at death rates at least six months after the brain injury and were compared with the general population.  The study also considered the death rates of siblings of people within the study.

Researchers found that people who had suffered TBI were three times more likely to die prematurely than those not affected.  The rate of premature death in the general population is 0.2%.  The rate jumped up 20 times higher when the TBI was superimposed on a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis.  TBI sufferers were 2.6 times more likely than their unaffected siblings to die prematurely.  Looking at siblings allowed the research to account for genetic factors, and early environment, according to the lead author of the study, Dr. Seena Fezel, of Oxford University’s Psychiatry Department.

The causes of death among those TBI patients who died prematurely fit a unique pattern – the death was more likely to be as a result of suicide, fatal injury, or assault.  Some well-documented symptoms of TBI include personality changes, such as impulsiveness, which could account for some of the reasoning behind this phenomenon.

Traumatic brain injuries are a common result of automobile accidents.  Symptoms can be mild or severe and often require treatment by a specialist, such as a neuropsychologist.  If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury as the result of an automobile accident, boating accident, or motorcycle accident, please contact a Sacramento attorney experienced in handling traumatic brain injury cases, Edward A Smith.  Reviews for Edward A Smith and autoaccident.com are available on Yelp and other sites, such as Avvo.