October 15, 2012
Concord, NH - Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has become a serious public health problem in New Hampshire and the United States. These were the findings in a report released in September by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Injury Surveillance Program in conjunction with the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire.
“Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “Traumatic Brain Injury can be prevented, in many cases, by wearing seat belts when driving, wearing helmets on motorcycles and bicycles, wearing proper safety equipment during sports, and preventing falls.”
During 2009, 13,546 people sustained a TBI in New Hampshire. Among those injured, 171 died where TBI was reported as a cause of death on the death certificate alone or in combination with other injuries or conditions. Another 1,069 were hospitalized with a TBI alone or in combination with other injuries or conditions, and an additional 12,306 were treated and released from emergency departments with a TBI alone or with other injuries or conditions. An unknown number of individuals sustained injuries that were treated in other settings or went untreated. The highest number of TBI-related deaths were among persons 45 to 54 years of age. Persons ages 0 to 14 years made the most TBI-related emergency department visits.
Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as the “Silent Epidemic,” presents as an often unseen and under-reported public health issue. Steve Wade, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire explains, “No brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Traumatic brain injuries can cause many different types of changes to the way a person thinks and understands the world around him. They can affect senses such as touch, taste, and smell. A traumatic brain injury may interfere with communication and the expression of one’s thoughts. And it may also result in social inappropriateness, depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, and acting out. Additionally, changes in attention and concentration, memory, and executive functioning are all hallmarks of traumatic brain injury.”
To read the complete report visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/mch/injury.htm and click on Traumatic Brain Injury: Occurrence and Mortality in New Hampshire, 2001-2009.