Landmark Study Finds Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors More Likely to Die Young
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 10, 2014 - According to a recent study led by a University of Oxford psychiatrist, those with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are three times more likely to die before the age of 56.
Combat veterans face a high risk of TBI while they serve on the battlefield. Now, the results of a four-decade-long study has revealed that those with TBI face a potentially shorter lifespan due to subsequent accidents or suicide. Veterans are affected long after their return home.
The joint British-Swedish study tracked 218,300 Swedes born after 1953 who were diagnosed with TBI between 1969 and 2009. Those with concussions were excluded from consideration. Survivors of a moderate to severe TBI were three times more likely than the general population to die prematurely (before reaching age 56).
“Veterans with a more severe traumatic brain injury can suffer from a wide range of troublesome symptoms, such as loss of coordination, increased confusion and seizures, which could put them at risk for further injury,” says James G. Fausone, a Michigan attorney who specializes in representing veterans. “The study’s findings dovetails with the lifelong perils veterans with TBI face.”
The propensity for people with TBI to injure themselves again, sometimes seriously or fatally, was underlined by the study’s numbers. 574 of the 2,378 who died before the age of 56 died due to accidents subsequent to the brain injury.
Grimly, those with brain injuries were also at least three times more likely to commit suicide. 522 people with TBI in the study’s group took their own lives.
Death rates remained high even five years after a person suffered a brain injury, possibly because brain injury patients tend to be risk-takers in the first place. However, the data strongly indicated that the brain injury itself played a key role in mortality.
In order to discount the possibility that any hereditary factors were involved, the study compared 150,513 of the brain injury patients with their siblings (who did not have such a condition). Siblings share a significant portion of their DNA and childhood experiences, influencing mortality and helping researchers chart personality. Patients with TBI were two and a half times more likely to die at an earlier age than their siblings.
“For veterans with TBI, the study’s findings make it even more imperative that they file a disability claim with the VA as soon as possible,” Fausone advised.
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