Traumatic brain injury may lead to reduced bone density.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland of the brain are important for producing and releasing critical hormones. Several studies have shown that a traumatic brain injury can frequently injure the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. This can cause hormonal deficiencies, including a deficiency in growth hormone-important for many physiological functions, such as building and maintaining bone density.
Although the relationship between brain injury and hormonal deficiencies is well understood by the clinical and research communities, the relationship between brain injury and loss of bone density was previously unrecognized. A recent animal study has verified that traumatic brain injuries resulting in hormonal deficiencies were also significantly associated with loss of bone density. In addition, certain bone areas and bone mineral content were found to be reduced in people with post-traumatic hormone deficiencies.
Although more research needs to be conducted, the implications of this study show that people with traumatic brain injury need to be assessed not only for hormone deficiencies, but may also benefit from regular assessment for bone density.
Yu H, Watt H, & Mohan S. The negative impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on bone in a mouse model. Brain Injury. (February 2014).