Research Reports - Is age associated with the severity of post-mild traumatic brain injury symptoms?

Can J Neurol Sci. 2017 Feb 6:1-7. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2016.441. [Epub ahead of

Hu T(1), Hunt C(2), Ouchterlony D(2).

BACKGROUND: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a significant public health
concern. Research has shown that mTBI is associated with persistent physical,
cognitive, and behavioural symptoms, leading to significant direct and indirect
medical costs. Our objective was to determine if age impacts the type and
severity of post-mTBI symptoms experienced.
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data at a level 1
tertiary care outpatient head injury clinic. Participants (N=167) were patients
seen at the clinic following an mTBI. The Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms
Questionnaire was used to assess symptom severity.
RESULTS: In our sample, the mean age was 44±16 years with 51% males. Compared
with other age groups, patients >66 years of age were significantly more likely
to report an mTBI between 6 AM to 12 PM (69%). Middle-aged patients (36-55 years)
were more likely to report higher severity of certain post-mTBI symptoms
(headache, nausea and vomiting, irritability, poor concentration, sleep
disturbance, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and taking longer to think)
compared with patients >66 years of age.
CONCLUSIONS: In general, middle-aged patients reported higher severity of
post-mTBI symptoms compared with the oldest patients. Thus, there was a
significant association between age and the severity of specific mTBI symptoms,
which highlights the need for targeted management. Additional research is needed
to understand the mechanisms that could be contributing to the higher symptom
severity experienced by the middle-aged group. 

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