The CDC reported 1.7 million hospital visits and 52,000 deaths from brain injury. Brain injury accounted for almost a third of the nation’s injury related fatalities. Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations increased by 14.4% and 19.5% respectively. Approximately 75% of the injuries were classified as “concussion or other mild form of TBI”. The concentration of injuries was found highest among the young, children under 5 and teens 15-19 and adults 65 and older. Over 473,000 Emergency Department visits involved individuals 14 or younger. Adults 75 and older had the highest incidence o hospitalization and death related to TBI.
Falls caused 35.2% of all injuries with the highest rate involving children under 5 and seniors 75 and older. Traffic accidents were 17.3% of all brain injuries, but accounted for the highest proportion of TBI deaths at 31.8%. Injury caused by being hit by an object accounted for 16.5% of TBI’s and assaults for 10%.
As we see in the latest CDC report the numbers are increasing and the age range is shifting to younger and older individuals. Recently we ran two seminars at Brookhaven using “The Silent Epidemic” a DVD produced by the State of New Mexico, Aging and Long Term Services Department using a HRSA Grant (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration, Maternal Child and Health Bureau to provide training to clinicians in the community to enhance their skills in the identification and management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Undetected brain injury is serious business. As several of the seminar attendees noted, Mild TBI can mimic many psychiatric symptoms and cause severe disruption in social relationships and employment.
Clearly, the number of TBI’s is increasing. We need to improve our resources at every level to increase detection and to provide effective treatment.