December 1, 2010

According to new research, patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury then develop post-traumatic stress disorder are at a higher risk of complications.

According to the study, conducted by the Archives of General Psychiatry, patients who have a brain injury, then post-traumatic stress disorder, are more likely to have more health problems and worse cognitive function one year later.

The study was conducted using telephone interviews to assess four factors: reasoning and problem solving, memory, attention and concentration and thinking.

The team of researchers studied outcomes for 3,047 civilian patients (ages 18 to 84) hospitalized at 69 hospitals with moderate to severe injuries who survived for at least a year.

This comes after the American Association of Neurological Surgeons warned about an increased risk of brain injury during the Christmas season due to factors such as bad weather. These accidents include car accidents but also slipping on ice.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons defines a traumatic brain injury as a blow or jolt to the head of a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Traumatic brain injury can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. The Archives of General Psychiatry study found that regardless of severity, those with post-traumatic stress disorder demonstrated significantly lower cognitive scores compared with patients without post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sources:, “PTSD worsens traumatic brain injury”, 8 Dec 2010
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Head Injury Prevention Tips

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