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New research on the effects of traumatic brain injury
Date:3/28/2013

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Researchers reviewed the charts of 30 individuals over the age of 55 who completed inpatient acute rehabilitation during the period from 2003-2009 and who died one to four years after TBI, and then compared that data to a matched sample of 30 patients who did not die. They found that 53 percent of deceased subjects had been diagnosed with gait abnormalities, 32 percent were taking respiratory medications at admission, and 17 percent were taking respiratory medications at discharge. Compared to patients who survived several years after injury, deceased patients were discharged from the hospital with significantly more medications.

Inpatient Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury: The Influence of Age on Treatments and Outcomes

For this study, researchers analyzed the difference in treatment and outcomes between elderly and younger patients with TBI. They found that patients over 65 had lower brain injury severity and a shorter length of stay in acute care. Elderly patients also received fewer hours of rehabilitation therapy, due to a shorter length of stay, and fewer hours of treatment per day, especially from psychology and therapeutic recreation. They gained less functional ability during and after rehabilitation, and had a very high mortality rate.

"We know significantly more about the treatment received by adolescents and young adults with TBI than we do about those over 65," said Marcel Dijkers, PhD, lead author and Research Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Our data indicates that elderly people can be rehabilitated successfully, but it raises a number of questions. For instance: is the high mortality due to the TBI or is it the result of the continuation of a condition that began pre-TBI?"

The researchers analyzed data on 1,419 patients with TBI admitted to nine TBI rehabilitation inpatient programs across the country between 2009 and 2011. They collected data
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