Cognitive function and other risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury in young men

 Dr. Anna Nordström MD Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, SwedenMedical Research.com Interview with
Dr. Anna Nordström MD

Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Medical Research.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Nordström: We have found that low cognitive function and factors related to low socioeconomic status and intoxications are strong independent risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury in men.

Medical Research.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Nordström:  Our knowledge of risk factors that predispose people to sustaining such injury is limited. Previous research has inferred that mild traumatic brain injuries have important long-term consequences on cognitive function. However, we found similar deficits in cognitive function in subjects that sustained a mild traumatic brain injury before and after cognitive testing. Thus our data suggest that the injury itself may not reduce cognitive function.

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

Dr. Nordström: We have been able to identity potential risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury which could help guide attempts to investigate prevention strategies.

Another important finding is the context for interpreting studies that measure cognitive function after injury only and compare it with matched controls from the general population, with the assumption that those with brain injury have similar pre-injury characteristics to the general population.

The results of this study suggest that such assumptions may be incorrect and the results from case control studies should be interpreted with caution.

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

Dr. Nordström: Additional studies are needed to replicate our findings and to increase understanding of the outcome impact of traumatic brain injuries

Citation:

Nordström A ,Edin BB ,Lindström S ,Nordström P. Cognitive function and other risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury in young men: nationwide cohort study.
BMJ 2013;346:f723

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