An interesting article published in the January 15, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association – Psychiatry (JAMA Psychiatry) concerns the fate of a small minority of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who die prematurely. A study in Sweden between 1969 and 2009 followed 218,300 patient who survived more than six months after a TBI and compared them to age matched controls with any TBI. The article reported that “there was a 3-fold increased odds of all-cause mortality, adjusted for sociodemographic confounders, among patients who survived at least 6 months after TBI compared with general population controls or unaffected siblings.” Nevertheless, only a very small percentage of the TBI survivors studied suffered premature mortality (1.1%). However, almost half of this group died of preventable causes, suggesting possible prophylactic therapeutic measures that may be taken in the future, such as identifying and treating certain personalities among TBI survivors who are prone to risky behavior and/or depression.
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