Brain Injuries Prove Costly; Seniors, Teens Most Affected

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Byline: Joyce Howard Price, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At least 1.4 million Americans a year suffer a traumatic brain injury, and nearly four times that number require long-term or lifelong assistance, a new federal study has found.

Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are falls and car accidents, according to the study, published in the current issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Those who are 75 or older are hospitalized for TBIs related to falls three times more often than people in any other age group, while those in their teens and early 20s are two times more likely than those in other age groups to be hospitalized for such injuries.

"The elderly have more inherent risks. They have concurrent conditions, which make them more prone to falls and car crashes ... and they stand to have more substantial injuries" in such accidents, said Dr. Victor Coronado of the CDC's Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

"It is not a new finding" that seniors who fall are at the greatest risk for serious TBIs; however, such injuries among the elderly "will not decrease over time" because of the sharp rise in that population, said Dr. Coronado, who was an author of the report.

The federal analysis showed that, overall, men are nearly at twice the risk for hospitalization from brain injuries as women. …