In particular, the study associates mild brain injury with a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after injury compared to another type of traumatic injury that does not affect the head.
The new study involved 1,155 patients with minor traumatic brain injuries and 230 patients with non-head injuries from 11 hospitals with trauma centers in the United States between 2014 and 2016.
Among lungs of head injuries, 61.8% were caused by a car collision, 29.2% were the result of a fall or other unintentional injury, 6.1% were caused by violence or an attack, and 3% were an unidentified cause.
The health status of each patient was assessed shortly after he was examined in the hospital, two weeks and three months later, six months and 12 months after the injury. At these times, patients were evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder and symptoms of major depressive disorder.
Researchers found that patients with mild traumatic brain injury more often reported PTSD or major depressive symptoms three and six months after the injury. For example, after three months, the prevalence of either mild depressive disorder or PTSD was 20% among those with mild traumatic brain injury and 8.7% among those who did not receive head injuries.
The researchers also found that having a mental health problem before traumatic brain injury was an “exceptionally strong risk factor” for the occurrence of PTSD or a major depressive disorder after it.
The study had some limitations, including the need for additional research, before the results could be extended to other hospitals, communities or countries. In addition, the researchers relied on self-reports on the history of mental disorders in patients.
The researchers also found an increased risk of developing PTSD and depression after mild traumatic brain injury in black patients. More research is needed to analyze this inequality.
In general, “our findings may be relevant for the observation and treatment of mental disorders after TBI. The occurrence and prolonged course of PTSD after TBI varies, ”the researchers write.
Their results show that PTSD and severe depressive disorder, although they are common, occur only in a small number of patients after a mild traumatic brain injury, "but especially in those who have previously had mental health problems," they wrote.
“Mild traumatic brain injury is a category of bran injury, which includes concussion, with concussion located at the softest end of this spectrum. Therefore, sports concussion, for example, will be a subset of mild traumatic brain injury, ”said Leddy, who participates in the study, but serves as the university's medical director at the Buffalo Clinic for Concussion.
“All patients in this study received computed tomography to assess hemorrhage in the brain or a skull fracture and may have had a neurological deficit upon admission to the emergency room. Although this type of injury can be classified as “lung”, it is much more serious than a concussion associated with sports can usually be, he said.
“Overall, I think this is a good study that helps predict who is at risk for depression and PTSD after a traumatic brain injury in a car accident or as a result of an attack,” he said, “but the results cannot be generalized to sports concussion. "