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Study highlights TBI risks for older adults

Older adults in West Virginia and around the country who have certain conditions could face an elevated risk of experiencing a traumatic brain injury. Researchers in a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society linked heart problems, depression, difficulty with daily activities or suffering from more than one chronic disease to a higher rate of traumatic brain injuries among that segment of the population.

The study followed 4,004 people age 65 and older. The participants did not have dementia and had never suffered a severe brain injury. Researchers checked in with them every two years to interview them about their health and conduct cognitive tests. They discussed depression, alcohol use, physical activity and whether or not they had experienced a loss of consciousness because of a blow to the head. The study followed each participant for 7.5 years on average.

The risk factors identified by the study could enable older adults and their caregivers to take steps to prevent head injuries. This study marked one of the first attempts to identify red flags for older adults. People in this age group are known to suffer worse outcomes after brain injuries than younger people.

A person who experiences a traumatic brain injury might endure the disabling effects for a lifetime and require expensive care and treatment. While often associated with contact sports such as football. these types of injuries can also be the result of a sudden fall on a slippery surface or a motor vehicle collision. If a TBI was caused by the negligence of another party, a personal injury attorney could assist the victim in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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