Adults With Concussion Have Increased Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Donald Redelmeier MD, MSHSR, FRCPC, FACP Senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Donald Redelmeier

Dr. Donald Redelmeier MD, MSHSR, FRCPC, FACP
Senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)
Physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, Ontario

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Redelmeier: Head injury can lead to suicide in military veterans and professional athletes; however, whether a mild concussion acquired in community settings is also a risk factor for suicide is unknown.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Redelmeier: We studies 235,110 patients diagnosed with a concussion and found that  667 subsequently died from suicide. The median delay was about 6 years. This risk was about 32 per 100,000 patients annually, which is 3x the population norm and especially high if the concussion occurred on a weekend (from recreation) rather than a weekday (from employment).

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Redelmeier: Adults diagnosed with a concussion have an increased long-term risk of suicide, particularly following concussions on weekends. More work on preventing concussion is  needed. Greater attention to the long-term health of patients after a concussion might also save lives because deaths from suicide can be prevented. 

Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Redelmeier: Our findings suggest that the association between concussion and suicide is not just limited to the military veterans and professional athletes. The work also highlights how invisible disease may lead to immediate suffering and added future misfortune.

Citation:

Michael Fralick, Deva Thiruchelvam, Homer C. Tien, and Donald A. Redelmeier

Risk of suicide after a concussionCMAJ cmaj.150790; published ahead of print February 8, 2016,doi:10.1503/cmaj.150790

Dr. Donald Redelmeier (2016). Adults With Concussion Have Increased Risk of Suicide 

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