Do people with brain injuries die sooner?

People who suffer traumatic brain injuries maybe three times more likely to die young. A 41-year-old study published in JAMA Psychiatry in Jan. Long-term mortality may increase after traumatic brain injury (TBI); however, the extent to which survival could be reduced is unknown. People who have had moderate or severe traumatic brain injury are known to have a higher risk of decreased cognitive abilities and a higher risk of dementia in the future.

The amount of physical activity, which is done by anyone with traumatic brain injury, has a big impact on healthy aging, just as it does on the general population. Another important consideration is the comparison between actual deaths after a head injury and expected deaths in the general population from which head injuries result. These risks could be a particular problem for soldiers and athletes who have had a traumatic brain injury, Fazel suggested. The death rate for Scotland and Greater Glasgow in 2002 and by age at the time of injury for 767 people with head injuries selected for follow-up.

A head injury was recorded as the leading cause of death in 23 of the original 767 samples; of these 18 died in months 1 and 2, the rest died 8, 12, 13, 34, and 37 months after the injury. While risky behavior can put people at risk for brain injury and early death, suicide and depression after a brain injury are also cause for concern. These patients need a support network after a traumatic brain injury to make sure they are not falling into depression, he said. There is evidence that a traumatic brain injury earlier in life increases the risk of developing Alzheimer-type dementia in old age.

A recent study, funded by the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund, looked at whether people with TBI have a different life expectancy than people without TBI. Researchers compared the death rates of people with brain injuries to those of more than 2 million people who had not had a brain injury and also with more than 150,000 siblings of those who suffered a brain injury. This suggests that after a traumatic brain injury there may be a secondary process, which leads to increased brain damage for years later. A very large study looked at the life expectancy of people with traumatic brain injury compared to the general population in the US.

Department of Education found that the life expectancy of people with traumatic brain injury is lower than that of the general population and depends on age, sex, and severity of a disability. And the food is a strong predictor, 85% for those who moved independently. People who take antiepileptic drugs are known to have an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis, so people with seizures after traumatic brain injury who take such drugs are at a noticeably higher risk. While the study found an association between traumatic brain injury and premature death, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.