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Thursday 21 August 2014

Brain injury triples risk of dying before 56

John von Radowitz

Published 16/01/2014 | 02:30

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Brain scan
Brain scan

TRAUMATIC brain injury triples your risk of dying before the age of 56, often as a result of suicide or violence, a study has found. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a blow to the head that results in skull fracture, internal bleeding, or loss of consciousness for more than an hour.

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Racing driver Michael Schumacher, still recovering after a serious skiing accident, suffered a TBI.

Scientists discovered the link between traumatic brain injury and early death after studying the Swedish medical records of 218,300 TBI survivors dating back 41 years.The main causes of premature death were suicide and fatal injuries caused by violent situations such as road accidents and falls.

The research, published in the journal 'JAMA Psychiatry', found that TBI survivors with a history of substance abuse or psychiatric disorder were most at risk. Precisely why people who suffer traumatic head injuries are more likely to die young remains unknown.

One possibility may be damage to parts of the brain responsible for judgment, decision- making and risk-taking, the scientists believe.

Irish Independent

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