Brain injuries cause half of seniors’ fall deaths

ATLANTA — The elderly fear breaking a hip when they fall, but a government study indicates that hitting their head can also have deadly consequences: Brain injuries account for half of all deaths from falls.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first comprehensive national look at the role brain injuries play in fatal elderly falls. It examined 16,000 deaths in 2005 that listed unintentional falls as an underlying cause of death.

CDC researchers found that slightly more than half of the deaths were attributed to brain injuries. The other deaths were due to a variety of causes including heart failure, strokes, infections and existing chronic conditions worsened by a broken hip or other injuries sustained in a fall.

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