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Michigan study links brain injuries to strokes

Traumatic brain injuries can cause a number of serious short- and long-term symptoms and conditions. TBIs are known to cause forgetfulness, depression, compromised motor skills and disability, among a number of other things, and doctors are just beginning to understand the full impact of head trauma.

A University of Michigan study recently found that those who experience a traumatic brain injury may be at an increased risk of having a stroke. The study, which has been published in the journal Neurology, found a very substantial link between traumatic brain injuries and strokes.

Strokes, like brain injuries, are not very well understood by the medical community. As this study's author has explained: “A large proportion of stroke risk is unexplained, especially in the young, so if we can identify new risk factors, we have the potential to prevent more strokes and improve outcomes.”

In this study, University of Michigan researchers reviewed the records of people who visited a hospital in California for TBI or trauma over a five-year timeframe. In total, 435,630 people who had TBI were researched, as well as 736,723 people who had trauma but no brain injuries.

The researchers found that within about 28 months following their injuries, about 1.1 percent of those who suffered TBI went on to suffer an ischemic stroke. Only .09 percent of the group who had trauma without a brain injury then had strokes.

An ischemic stoke involves a blockage in the blood flow to part of the brain; the majority of strokes are ischemic.

While further research likely needs to be done on this issue, this study is yet another example of the complications of brain injuries--the vast number of which may remain unknown.

Those who sustain a brain injury are wise to seek medical attention and legal counsel after the injury. In many cases, when a brain injury is caused by another party's negligence, it is possible to obtain compensation for related medical expenses and problems.

Source: University of Michigan Health System, "Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke, U-M study suggests," June 28, 2013

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