Study finds link between brain injuries and strokes

Every year, 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can cause a wide variety of short-term and long-term symptoms including headaches, confusion, dizziness, seizures, memory loss and cognitive problems. Unfortunately, another negative effect can now be added to the list, as recent studies have concluded that TBIs also increase a sufferer's risk for stroke.

One of the two major causes of TBIs occurs when people experience sudden and violent jolts to their heads or bodies. In such cases, the force of the impact causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull, damaging itself in the process. There are many causes of TBIs, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, the majority of TBIs are caused by falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults and contact sports. The other major cause of TBIs occurs when a foreign object, such as a bullet, enters the skull and damages the brain tissue.

Connection between TBIs and strokes examined

In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, the link between brain injuries and ischemic strokes was examined. This is the most common type of stroke and is caused when blood vessels that supply the brain with blood are blocked. The study was recently published in the medical journal Neurology.

During the study, the researchers reviewed emergency room and hospital records of adults admitted to California hospitals for trauma during 2005 to 2009. Patients that suffered head injuries as a result of their traumas were compared with those that had not during a 28-month period to assess whether those with head trauma were more likely to have a subsequent stroke. Researchers were careful to take into account and eliminate other patient factors that may also increase the risk of stroke such as high blood pressure, heart disease or elevated cholesterol levels.

The researchers found that TBIs raised the risk of a subsequent stroke significantly. It was discovered that during the 28-month period, less than one percent of patients with no head traumas suffered strokes. However, in the group of people that had brain injuries, 1.1 percent suffered strokes. Based on these findings, researchers calculated that, after accounting for the risk factors that may also cause strokes (e.g. hypertension etc.), patients with brain injuries were 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those with no brain injuries.

An attorney can help

Unfortunately, the elevated risk of a stroke is only one of many maladies those with TBIs face. Like other TBI symptoms, the effects of a stroke can require a lifetime of expensive medical treatment. As a result, those that have suffered a TBI as a result of someone else's negligence should contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. An attorney can work to obtain adequate compensation for the sufferer's losses, such as medical bills, wage losses, and pain and suffering.