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Study shows increase in the number of brain injuries

Warmer weather in Wisconsin can mean an increase in the number of head injuries, as more people are riding motorcycles or participating in outdoor activities. In fact, a new study that is set to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the number of brain injuries being seen in emergency rooms across the country is increasing.

According to the study, which was funded by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, only 1.7 percent of patients seen in U.S. emergency rooms were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries in 2006. Four years later, that number was up to 29 percent. The largest increase was among those over the age of 60 and under the age of 3.

The study looked at data taken from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, but researchers say that it is hard to tell whether the significant increase was mostly due to an increased number of injuries or greater awareness about brain injuries. Researchers say that the upswing is likely to be at least partially attributed to increased awareness and people being more proactive in seeking care for head injuries, which is a good thing for those injures.

Recovering from a brain injury can be a long process and can come with a wide array of symptoms, from dizziness to mood swings. Brain and head injuries come in many different forms, and the apparent severity of the injury does not always correlate exactly to the severity of the symptoms, according to one of the doctors involved in the study. This means that it's important for those injured in car accidents or other situations to seek medical attention even if the injury does not appear to be severe at first.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "UPMC study finds uptick in reports of head injuries" Brett Sholtis, May. 13, 2014

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