Research Reports - Persistent problems 1 year after mild traumatic brain injury

Br J Gen Pract. 2016 Jan;66(642):e16-23. doi: 10.3399/bjgp16X683161.

Theadom A(1), Parag V(2), Dowell T(3), McPherson K(4), Starkey N(5), Barker-Collo
S(6), Jones K(1), Ameratunga S(7), Feigin VL(1); BIONIC Research Group.

BACKGROUND: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a common problem in general
practice settings, yet previous research does not take into account those who do
not attend hospital after injury. This is important as there is evidence that
effects may be far from mild.
AIM: To determine whether people sustain any persistent effects 1 year after
mTBI, and to identify the predictors of health outcomes.
DESIGN AND SETTING: A community-based, longitudinal population study of an mTBI
incidence cohort (n = 341) from a mixed urban and rural region (Hamilton and
Waikato Districts) of the North Island of New Zealand (NZ).
METHOD: Adults (>16 years) completed assessments of cognitive functioning, global
functioning, post-concussion symptoms, mood, and quality of life over the year
after injury.
RESULTS: Nearly half of participants (47.9%) reported experiencing four or more
post-concussion symptoms 1 year post-injury. Additionally, 10.9% of participants
revealed very low cognitive functioning. Levels of anxiety, depression, or
reduced quality of life were comparable with the general population. Having at
least one comorbidity, history of brain injury, living alone, non-white ethnic
group, alcohol and medication use, and being female were significant predictors
of poorer outcomes at 12 months.
CONCLUSION: Although some people make a spontaneous recovery after mTBI, nearly
half continue to experience persistent symptoms linked to their injury.
Monitoring of recovery from mTBI may be needed and interventions provided for
those experiencing persistent difficulties. Demographic factors and medical
history should be taken into account in treatment planning. 

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