The CDC reports that
traumatic brain injury
(TBI) is the leading cause of death in patients under the age of 35, with
almost 1,500,000 Americans suffering from a TBI each year. Alcohol and
its effects on cognitive function are associated with injuries in general,
but alcohol intake may have more specific effects on the brain’s
recovery after a trauma.
A recent Korean study investigated the relationship between alcohol intake
and TBI-related mortality rates. Researchers collected data on more than
10,000 TBI patients, evaluating the cause and severity of each patient’s
injury as well as the presence of drugs or alcohol at the time of injury.
They found that there was no relationship between alcohol intake and TBI
severity and that the group of patients who had ingested alcohol at the
time of their injury actually had a lower mortality rate compared to the
patients who had not.
Though further research is necessary to determine why alcohol intake is
associated with lower TBI mortality rates, this study does reinforce the
importance of carefully assessing all the individual variables of a patient’s
injury during the treatment and rehabilitation process.
Cho JS, Shin SD, Lee EJ, et al. Alcohol intake and reduced mortality in
patients with traumatic brain injury. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental