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Traumatic brain injuries and the elderly

Elderly people in Oklahoma and around the country have a higher risk of suffering from traumatic brain injuries and succumbing to them than do younger people. Researchers have studied the risk factors associated with traumatic brain injuries among the elderly in order to gain a better understanding of preventative measures that could be taken.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The authors studied 4,004 people who were age 65 or older and who did not have dementia. At the time of joining the study, none had ever suffered a traumatic brain injury. The researchers then followed the participants every two years. When they interviewed people at the biannual meetings, they asked them questions about whether they had suffered injuries that had caused them to lose consciousness. They also asked them about various health conditions, including depression and alcoholism along with their general states of health.

Cognitive functioning and physical performance ability were also assessed. People were also asked questions about their activity levels. The researchers found that people who suffered from depression, vascular conditions or who suffered from at least two chronic conditions had higher risks of incurring traumatic brain injuries. People who had trouble performing the activities of daily living also carried higher risks.

A traumatic brain injury may lead to permanent disability or death. By trying to implement strategies in order to reduce the incidence of these injuries among the elderly, residential care facilities may be able to help their occupants live longer lives. Traumatic brain injuries that happen in accidents caused by the negligence of others may lead to personal injury lawsuits filed by an attorney on behalf of the victim.