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Study: Head injury of any kind doubles mortality rate in adults

A new study found the mortality rate among individuals with more severe, or multiple, head injuries was 2.87 times higher versus those with no head injury history. File Photo by Mitrey/Pixabay
A new study found the mortality rate among individuals with more severe, or multiple, head injuries was 2.87 times higher versus those with no head injury history. File Photo by Mitrey/Pixabay

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Adult Americans who have had a moderate or severe head injury, even decades ago, are almost three times as likely to die as those who have never suffered a head injury, according to a study published Tuesday.

After analyzing 32 years of data from 13,000 participants, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine found that the mortality rate from all causes among participants with any head injury was 2.21 times the mortality rate of those with no head injury.

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Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The participants, whose average age was 54, were drawn from four communities in Minnesota, Maryland, North Carolina and Mississippi. Women were slightly overrepresented in the study, making up 57% of participants, while 28% of participants were Black.

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The mortality rate among individuals with more severe, or multiple, head injuries was 2.87 times higher versus those with no head injury history.

Head injuries, most often the result of car crashes, accidental falls or sports injuries, have also been linked with many long-term health conditions, including disability, epilepsy, dementia and stroke.

The report said the findings highlighted the importance of public health strategies to prevent head injury and targeted clinical interventions aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality.

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Noting the lack of understanding of the implications of head injury for long-term survival in adults living in the community -- not in homes for the elderly or hospitalized -- the report called for further research into the issue.

The report follows a study published last week in the journal Neurology, which found that college athletes who suffer a concussion take longer to recover -- as much as an extra month -- but most do eventually return to playing their sport.

Most of the men in the Indiana University School of Medicine study played football, soccer or basketball. The women primarily played soccer, volleyball, or basketball.

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The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Another study published last month that looked at head injuries in children found that almost 7% of American children show signs of a brain injury at some time in childhood.

The research conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics found that the prevalence increases with age reaching 12% among 12- to 17-year-olds, with boys more likely to suffer a head injury than girls.

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