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Are Brain Injuries More Common Than Once Thought?

As San Diego accident attorneys, we are concerned by a new report suggesting that traumatic brain injuries may be more common than previously thought. The study, conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, applied a new system for classifying injuries caused by force to the head and found that the incidence of traumatic brain injury is likely greater than has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Even mild traumatic brain injuries can affect sensory-motor functions, thinking and awareness, and communication,” says study author Allen Brown, M.D., director of brain rehabilitation research at Mayo Clinic. “In assessing frequency, we have likely been missing a lot of cases. This is the first population-based analysis to determine prevalence along the whole spectrum of these injuries.”

Researchers used the Mayo Traumatic Brain Injury Classification System, a new brain injury method that classifies head injuries along a more comprehensive scale. The categories label patients with “definite,” “probable” and “possible” TBIs, after taking count of the patient’s symptoms.

Here is what they found:

  • TBIs occur in as many as 558 per 100,000 people, compared to the 341 per 100,000 estimated by the CDC.
  • Researchers found that 60 percent of injuries fell outside the standard categorization used by the CDC, even though two-thirds of them were symptomatic.
  • Mayo researchers found the elderly and the young were found most at risk for “definite” and “possible” injury, respectively, and men were more at risk than women.

As the researchers note, the findings support current efforts by the CDC to create a new brain injury classification system that more broadly defines traumatic head injury.

“With more complete assessment of frequency, we’ll have better tools to develop prevention programs, optimize treatments, understand cost-effectiveness of care and predict outcomes for patients,” says Dr. Brown.

If you or a member of your family has suffered from a severe head injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact experienced San Diego personal injury attorney Robert Vaage for a free consultation.