A new study by Scottish researchers from Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow has revealed that adults who are hospitalized with minor head injuries are at almost twice the risk of dying within fifteen years of their injury than someone with no head injury.
Many studies have proven that there is a high risk of death subsequent to a severe head injury, but until now, there had not been a significant amount of research on the effects of minor head injuries. The study’s results were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, but the researchers are not sure whether it’s long-term effects from the injury or lifestyle that causes the risk to double.
The researchers looked at medical records from February 1995 to February 1996 of 2,428 adults who were hospitalized with mild head injuries.
The team also had a comparison group of patients who had been hospitalized for other medical issues other than head injuries. A second comparison group was made up of people who had no history of any head injuries and had not been hospitalized.
The study then focused on what happened to the subjects of all three groups over the next 15 years. The head injury patients died at a rate of 2.45 percent every year. The first comparison group died at a rate of 1.96 percent every year and the second comparison group had a death rate of 1.34 percent every year.
There were more marked differences in mortality rates with the group of minor head injury patients under the age of 55 years old when the study began. Their chance of dying was four times larger than the second comparison group.
Researchers also found that adults who get minor head injuries typically have a less healthy lifestyle, including both heavy drinking and lack of exercise, prior to and after being injured. There is also often a history of head injuries. That, the authors of the study say, could be the result of “chronic brain changes” caused by multiple head injuries, but that more research is needed before making a definitive conclusion.
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