You don’t need to be a doctor or caregiver to someone with a traumatic brain injury to recognize some of the visible symptoms. But new research published in the April 28, 2022 issue of JAMA Network Open indicates that head injuries of any severity may be linked to an increased risk of chronic endocrine, cardiovascular, psychiatric, and neurologic comorbidities.
When scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reviewed the data from patients who had experienced a range of traumatic brain injuries (from mild to moderate-to-severe) compared to a group without head injuries, they found some concerning disparities.
Although the risk of post-TBI comorbidities was higher in all age groups (compared to those without a head injury), it was even greater in patients under 40. In addition, post-TBI comorbidities were associated with higher mortality when they followed up with subjects up to 10 years later.
More research is needed as to the cause of TBI victims developing comorbidities, but it’s like that the correlation represents “a combination of direct (hormonal and inflammatory changes caused by injury) and indirect factors (psychosocial risk factors).”
While the findings certainly don’t feel like good news on their face, they do shed some light on the need for a proactive screening program after injury. Uncovering the link between traumatic brain injuries and the increased risk for developing comorbidities may allow doctors to intervene earlier thanks to this new discovery.
Wendy Burt-Thomas writes about the brain, mental health and parenting.
Check out the original research: