Brain injury patients may face heightened risk of early death

We have previously written about how important it is to prevent brain injuries whenever possible and to properly diagnose and treat those that do occur. Whether they occur as a result of auto accidents, maritime accidents, sports-related collisions or a host of other scenarios, brain injuries may be life-altering and must be treated seriously. A new study conducted by research experts at England’s Oxford University confirms this critical point.

According to this recent study, individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) face a significantly higher rate of premature death than the general population does. According to the study’s lead researcher, “After a traumatic brain injury, patients have a threefold increased risk of dying prematurely.”

This statistic is certainly upsetting. But it is important to understand some deeper truths that this research has revealed. The study’s authors determined that most of the premature deaths suffered by brain injury victims occur as a result of additional brain injury, suicide and assault. In addition, the risk of premature death climbs even high if the patient struggles with a substance abuse and/or psychiatric issue.

This additional evidence will hopefully help healthcare professionals, affected patients and their loved ones understand that individuals who have suffered brain injuries need to be adequately treated in order to prevent or help alleviate symptoms of depression and substance abuse problems. They should also avoid any scenarios in which a high risk of incurring an additional brain injury is high, such as playing contact sports. The recent study’s conclusions are upsetting, but they may also be helpful in informing interested persons about the consequences of brain injury when combined with other risk factors.

Source: WebMD, “Brain Injuries May Raise Risk of Early Death,” Steven Reinberg, Jan. 15, 2014