Traumatic brain injury is more common than previously estimatedRSS Feed
According to a new study from the Mayo Clinic in the US, traumatic brain injury is considerably more prevalent than previous estimates have suggested.
The Mayo research considered the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) amongst males and females in all age groups, ScienceDaily.com reports. Study author Dr Allen Brown, who is director of brain rehabilitation research at Mayo Clinic, said: "Even mild traumatic brain injuries can affect sensory-motor functions, thinking and awareness, and communication. In assessing frequency, we have likely been missing a lot of cases. This is the first population-based analysis to determine prevalence along the whole spectrum of these injuries."
The study used a new, more comprehensive classification system for brain injury. The Mayo Traumatic Brain Injury Classification System contains 'possible', 'probable' and 'definite' categories for head trauma patients who may have sustained brain damage. The system permits inclusion of patients who have suffered momentary unconsciousness or milder symptoms such as nausea or dizziness.
The Mayo team applied the classification system to data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a huge archive of medical records stretching back several decades. They found that an earlier estimate of TBI prevalence from the US Centres for Disease Control - 341 per 100,000 - was too low. The new system suggests that prevalence is considerably higher, at 558 per 100,000 people.
Moreover, the most at risk groups for 'definite' and 'probable' classifications were the elderly and young, with males more at risk than women.
Dr Brown added: "With more complete assessment of frequency, we'll have better tools to develop prevention programs, optimise treatments, understand cost-effectiveness of care and predict outcomes for patients."