Adults who suffered any head injury during a 30-year study period had two times the rate of mortality than those who did not have any head injury, and mortality rates among those with moderate or severe head injuries were nearly three times higher, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine, published in JAMA Neurology.
In the United States, over 23 million adults age 40 or older report a history of head injury with loss of consciousness. Head injury can be attributed to a number of causes, from motor vehicle crashes, unintentional falls, or sports injuries. What’s more, head injury has been linked with a number of long-term health conditions, including disability, late-onset epilepsy, dementia, and stroke.
Death from all causes was recorded in 64.6% of those individuals who suffered a head injury, and in 54.6% of those without any head injury. Accounting for participant characteristics, investigators found that the mortality rate from all-causes among participants with a head injury was 2.21 times the mortality rate among those with no head injury. Further, the mortality rate among those with more severe head injuries was 2.87 times the mortality rate among those with no head injury.
“Our data reveals that head injury is associated with increased mortality rates even long-term. This is particularly the case for individuals with multiple or severe head injuries,” says the study’s lead author, Holly Elser, a neurology resident at Penn. “This highlights the importance of safety measures, like wearing helmets and seatbelts, to prevent head injuries.”
Read more at Penn Medicine News.