Low-Income Men Have Greater Risk of Brain Injuries
Low-income men are more likely to have brain injuries than those in a higher socioeconomic status, a new study from the British Medical Journal suggests.
In the study, the less education and income a man had, the more concussions he was likely to sustain. The same study also found that having overall lower cognitive function and a history of concussions also increased the risk of brain injury.
Previous research has shown that even mild concussions can have lasting cognitive effects on patients. But it was unknown whether having poor cognitive function is an independent risk factor on its own.
To investigate this, researchers from Umea University in Sweden conducted a national study of more than 300,000 young men who were conscripted for military service between 1989-1994. The men were tested for cognitive capabilities at the beginning of their service, and followed-up with researchers after an average of 19 years.
Men who reported having a brain injury two years before service did more poorly on cognitive tests than those without a history of concussion. Those who had at least one concussion had a 5.5% lower cognitive function score. During the study, nearly 800 men sustained at least two traumatic brain injuries. Those men had a 15% lower cognitive function score.
"Young men with low cognitive function, education, and social status are thus at greater risk of mild traumatic brain injuries, sometimes influenced by substance abuse," the researchers wrote. They concluded that successfully preventing brain injuries may require doctors to assess patients for these risk factors.
Nordstrom A, et al. Cognitive function and other risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury in young men: nationwide cohort study. British Medical Journal 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f723.