Severe head injuries led to higher death rates in the 30-year study period – ScienceDaily

Adults who suffered any head injury over the 30-year study period had twice the death rate than those who suffered no head injury, and death rates among those with moderate or severe head injuries were nearly three times higher, according to the new study. Research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published today in JAMA Neurology.

In the United States, more than 23 million adults 40 years of age or older have reported a history of head injury with loss of consciousness. A head injury can be attributed to a number of causes, from car accidents, accidental falls, or sports injuries. Furthermore, head injury has been linked to a number of long-term health conditions, including disability, late-onset epilepsy, dementia, and stroke.

Studies have previously shown an increase in short-term deaths related to head injuries primarily among hospitalized patients. This longitudinal study evaluated 30 years of data from more than 13,000 community housing participants (those who were not hospitalized or lived in nursing home facilities) to determine whether head injury had an effect on long-term adult mortality rates. The investigators found that 18.4 percent of the participants reported one or more head injuries during the study period, and of those who did suffer a head injury, 12.4 percent were recorded as moderate or severe. The average time between head injury and death was 4.7 years.

All-cause mortality was recorded in 64.6 percent of individuals with a head injury, and in 54.6 percent of those with no head injury. Given the characteristics of the participants, the researchers found that the all-cause mortality rate among participants with a head injury was 2.21 times the death rate among those without a head injury. Moreover, the death rate among those with severe head injuries was 2.87 times the death rate among those without head injuries.

“Our data reveals that head injury is associated with increased mortality rates even in the long term. This is particularly the case for individuals with multiple or severe head injuries,” explained the study’s lead author, Holly Elser, MD, PhD, MPH who is a neurology resident. in Pennsylvania. “This highlights the importance of safety measures, such as wearing helmets and seat belts, to prevent head injuries.”

The investigators also evaluated data on specific causes of death among all participants. Overall, the most common causes of death were cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders (which include dementia, epilepsy, and stroke). Among individuals with head injuries, deaths from neurological disorders and unintentional injury or trauma (such as a fall) occurred more frequently.

When researchers evaluated specific neurological causes of death among participants with a head injury, they found that nearly two-thirds of neurological causes of death were attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These diseases accounted for a greater percentage of total deaths among individuals with head injuries (14.2%) compared to those without (6.6%).

“The study data do not explain why the cause of death in individuals with head injuries may be due to neurodegenerative diseases, underlining the need for further research into the relationship between these disorders and head injury and death,” Andrea LC said. Schneider, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Penn State.

Study data was from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), an ongoing community-based study of 15,792 participants ages 45-65, recruited from suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Washington County, Maryland, Forsyth County, North Carolina, and Jackson. , Mississippi in 1987-1989.

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