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Study: Multiple brain injuries may lead to higher risk of suicide

Folks in Chicago may be at risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries when they are involved in car accidents, are harmed while playing sports, or become injured after a slip-and-fall accident. And Chicago natives who are serving our country overseas may also be at risk of suffering TBIs when they are injured during combat.

The effects of brain injuries may be wide-ranging. Folks may need to rest for a few days after suffering a concussion, and others may experience severe impairments from TBIs or subsequent brain injuries.

Although brain injuries may cause severe and permanent harm to victims, doctors may also be able to minimize the short-term and long-term effects of TBIs by properly diagnosing and treating patients who have suffered these types of injuries. And according to a new study, knowing how many brain injuries patients have suffered throughout their lives may help doctors to provide patients with better treatment for their brain injuries.

Psychological effects are known symptoms of brain injuries. Brain injuries may cause victims to become depressed or to have thoughts of suicide. But a new study suggests that multiple TBIs suffered by war veterans may increase veterans’ risks of suicide.

This research is important because it may help doctors to identify patients, particularly military personnel, who may have a high risk of suicide. When patients are identified as having a higher risk of suicide, doctors may be able to provide these patients with the treatment they need to lower their risk of suicide.

For the study, researchers identified 161 military members who had been treated by doctors after potentially suffering TBIs while stationed in Iraq. The military members were diagnosed with a TBI if they lost consciousness or memory, if they experienced an alteration of mental state, or if they suffered brain damage.

Researchers asked military personnel who had participated in the study whether they had any thoughts of suicide prior to suffering TBIs and whether this changed after suffering TBIs. Based on the participants’ answers, researchers concluded that TBI victims were more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to non-TBI victims. Researchers also concluded that participants who had suffered multiple TBIs were more likely to have thoughts of suicide compared to participants who suffered one TBI.

Source: CBS News, “Traumatic brain injury may increase suicide risk for military personnel,” Michelle Castillo, May 16, 2013


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