People who suffer traumatic brain injuries face an elevated risk of death from suicide or accidents for years to come, according to a new study based on four decades of data on hundreds of thousand of patients in Sweden.
Those who survived the immediate aftermath of moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries were three times more likely than people without such injuries to die prematurely, defined by the researchers as before age 56.
Experts said the study was likely to spur calls for long-term monitoring of some brain injury patients. By virtue of its size and scope, the analysis, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, puts an authoritative stamp on a growing body of evidence that impacts to the brain can be deadly in ways that are not easily apparent.
“I don’t think you can get much more valuable or detailed data,” said Dr. Michael Yochelson, a brain trauma expert at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington who was not involved in the study.