Traumatic brain injuries send approximately 1.5 million people to the emergency room every year. They are the top cause of death and disability in individuals under the age of 45, according to the Brain Trauma Foundation. There are currently 5.3 million Americans living with brain injury disability. Rates of recovery differ, depending on the seriousness of the injury. While researchers have identified numerous factors that affect the rate of healing, recent studies suggest that patients with higher levels of education exemplify a better rate of recovery.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a research study about “cognitive reserve”, which measures the brain’s functionality when damaged. According to a report by CBS News , researchers determined that patients were more likely to recover from brain injuries if they had earned at least an undergraduate degree prior to their injury. These results are reportedly similar to previous findings in dementia studies, where patients with advanced education showed a slower progression of the disease.
Eric Schneider is an epidemiologist and the study author. “If one looks at the dementia literature, maintaining the health of your brain by being actively involved in your life is important,” he stated. “And in the unlikely event of injury to your brain, it may help.”
The Study Details
Researchers tracked more than 700 patients for the study. Each of them were at least 23 years old, with varying levels of education. According to the article, 24% of the participants dropped out of high school before finishing. About 51% of the subjects were high school graduates with some level of college and 25% previously earned at least an undergraduate degree. All participants were monitored for at least one year following the onset of injury and they were all given equal access to healthcare and rehabilitation. The results reportedly showed that 39% of subjects with a college degree fully recovered within the year. The number decreased to 31% for patients with some college education. These percentages represent a five times greater likelihood of recovery over subjects with no high school diploma.
Study scientists reportedly suggest that individuals with higher educations use more of their brains prior to the brain injury, which strengthens their cognitive reserves. Though other researchers call the study interesting, many are reportedly unwilling to acknowledge a direct connection.
There is currently no cure for traumatic brain injuries, but researchers continuously search for innovative treatment methods to reverse the seriousness of the damage. According to the National Institute of Health, the primary goal is stabilization of the patient, along with the prevention of further injury. These treatments include the supply of oxygen to the brain, adequate blood flow and sufficient rest. This is why the Johns Hopkins study is so important. It provides physicians with additional understanding about the working of the brain during traumatic brain injuries.
If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another, contact the experienced brain injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.
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