People with more education may recover better from traumatic brain injury

April 23, 2014
brain

People with more years of education may be better able to recover from a traumatic brain injury, according to a study published in the April 23, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study examined people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, most of which were from or falls. All were taken to the emergency department and spent time in the hospital after the injury and also for inpatient rehabilitation.

"After these types of injuries, some people are disabled for life and are never able to go back to work, while other people who have similar injuries recover fully," said study author Eric B. Schneider, PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "We understand some factors that lead to these differences, but we can't explain all of the variation. These results may provide another piece of the puzzle."

The theory is that people with more have a greater cognitive reserve, or the brain's ability to maintain function in spite of damage. The concept has emerged for brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, where people with higher levels of education have been shown to have fewer symptoms of the disease than people with less education, even when they have the same amount of damage in the brain from the disease. But few studies have looked at how cognitive reserve may affect traumatic brain injury.

The study involved 769 people at least 23 years old and who had been followed for at least a year after their injury. Participants were grouped by . A total of 185 participants, or 24 percent, did not finish ; 390, or 51 percent, had 12 to 15 years of education, or had finished high school and some post-secondary education; and 194, or 25 percent, had obtained at least an undergraduate degree, or had 16 or more years of education.

One year after the injury, 219 of the participants, or 28 percent, had no disability and were able to return to work or school. Only 23 people, or 10 percent, of those with no high school diploma were free of disability, compared to 136, or 31 percent of those with some college education and 76, or 39 percent, of those with a college degree.

"People with education equal to a were more than seven times more likely to fully recover from their injury than people who did not finish high school," Schneider said. "And people with some were nearly five times more likely to fully recover than those without enough education to earn a . We need to learn more about how education helps to protect the brain and how it affects injury and resilience. Exploring these relationships will hopefully help us to identify ways to help people recover better from ."

Explore further: Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

Related Stories

Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

June 26, 2013
People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research that appears in the June 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Researchers find link between low cognitive score and risk of brain injury

March 12, 2013
It is estimated that there are 10 million cases of traumatic brain injury globally every year with mild traumatic brain injuries being responsible for 70-90% of these. Incidence is highest among young males.

A new cell type is implicated in epilepsy caused by traumatic brain injury

March 11, 2014
Traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for epilepsy, though the relationship is not understood. A new study in mice, published in Cerebral Cortex, identifies increased levels of a specific neurotransmitter as a contributing ...

Long-term effects of battle-related 'blast plus impact' concussive TBI in US military

April 17, 2014
U.S. military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered "blast plus impact" concussive traumatic brain injury (TBI) were compared to military personnel without TBI who were evacuated for other medical reasons. ...

Early rehabilitation important for recovery after severe traumatic brain injury

January 28, 2014
Early rehabilitation interventions seem to be essential for how well a patient recovers after a severe brain injury. It might even increase the chances for long-term survival, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Working with solvents tied to cognitive problems for less-educated people

May 28, 2012
Exposure to solvents at work may be associated with reduced thinking skills later in life for those who have less than a high school education, according to a study published in the May 29, 2012, print issue of Neurology, ...

Recommended for you

The neural codes for body movements

July 21, 2017
A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy ...

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.