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Does a traumatic brain injury make premature death more likely?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a car accident, in a fall, or in some other way can have both short-term effects and tragic long-term consequences.

In the short term, even a “mild” TBI may involve problems with memory or concentration. It may also lead to symptoms such as headaches or nausea.

Researchers are also learning more, however, about the severe long-term implications of a traumatic brain injury. In this post, we will take note of a study released earlier this year that examined the connection between premature mortality and TBI.

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry in March. It was based on extensive research spanning 40 years.

Researchers looked at people in Sweden who were born in 1954 or thereafter and had received treatment for TBI between 1969 and 2009. As part of their analysis, the researchers compared mortality rates for these people with two different groups.

One of these groups was the general population, matched to the TBI sample by age and gender. The other group was siblings of the TBI group who had not suffered such injuries.

The conclusion of the researchers was clear. The findings showed a clearly elevated risk of premature death among the TBI group. The risk of early death – perhaps from suicide or other injuries – was highest for those in the TBI group who had psychological problems (such as depression) or issues involving substance abuse.

In short, if you or someone close to you has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, you should not only be considering the short term consequences when seeking compensation. It is also important to realize that the injury may make an early death more likely.

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