Emergency department visits for brain injuries on rise: study

Pittsburgh – Emergency department visits due to traumatic brain injuries have spiked almost 30 percent in recent years, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Researchers analyzed 2006-2010 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database and found a 29 percent increase in the rate of visits for traumatic brain injuries, compared with a 3.6 increase in overall emergency department visits.

A number of factors, including increased awareness and diagnoses of traumatic brain injuries, could help explain the trend, researchers said.

Most of the incidents regarding traumatic brain injuries were identified as concussions or unspecified head injuries. The age groups with the largest increase in traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits were children younger than 3 and adults older than 60.

Researchers said the findings may indicate that young children and senior citizens do not benefit as much as other age groups from concussion and helmet laws, safer sports practices, and other public health interventions.