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Alcohol Intake and Reduced Mortality in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury

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 Research. (2016).

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