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Is there a link between brain trauma and early death?

Residents of Colorado know just how devastating a significant brain injury can be. However, many people fail to recognize the link between head trauma and an increased risk of early death. In fact, recent research shows that those who’ve sustained serious a brain injury often die earlier than people who have not, although the exact link is still up for debate.

According to CBS News, the risk of premature death rises significantly for those who’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury. These conclusions were based on a study involving 218,300 people, who died before age 56 at three times the rate of those who had not suffered any brain trauma during the course of their lives.  The causes of death for these brain injury victims included assault, suicide and other fatal injuries.

Suicide and brain injuries have shown links in the past, particularly for members of the military. In this case, those who’ve suffered from more than one brain injury showed increased rates of suicide, and were also at a greater risk of developing dementia at a certain age. This study and others have led some researchers to posit an association between mental illness and head trauma, especially when given the heightened rates of mental illness among victims of brain injuries.

To this end, continual mental health assessment is encouraged for brain injury victims. Currently, sufferers of head trauma are only assessed for immediate damage related to their initial injuries. Some medical professionals call for further screening focusing on the risk of suicide based on previous research. Fortunately, the conditions that contribute to premature death for head trauma are usually treatable provided help is readily available. 

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