People with more education may recover better from traumatic brain injury

April 23, 2014, American Academy of Neurology
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

Parents' brain activity 'echoes' their infant's brain activity when they play together

December 13, 2018
When infants are playing with objects, their early attempts to pay attention to things are accompanied by bursts of high-frequency activity in their brain. But what happens when parents play together with them? New research, ...

Researchers discover abundant source for neuronal cells

December 13, 2018
USC researchers seeking a way to study genetic activity associated with psychiatric disorders have discovered an abundant source of human cells—the nose.

In the developing brain, scientists find roots of neuropsychiatric diseases

December 13, 2018
The most comprehensive genomic analysis of the human brain ever undertaken has revealed new insights into the changes it undergoes through development, how it varies among individuals, and the roots of neuropsychiatric illnesses ...

Researchers find the cause of and cure for brain injury associated with gut condition

December 13, 2018
Using a mouse model of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)—a potentially fatal condition that causes a premature infant's gut to suddenly die—researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have uncovered the molecular causes of the ...

How the brain tells you to scratch that itch

December 13, 2018
It's a maddening cycle that has affected us all: it starts with an itch that triggers scratching, but scratching only makes the itchiness worse. Now, researchers have revealed the brain mechanism driving this uncontrollable ...

Study confirms role of brain's support cells in Huntington's, points to new therapies

December 13, 2018
New research gives scientists a clearer picture of what is happening in the brains of people with Huntington's disease and lays out a potential path for treatment. The study, which appears today in the journal Cell Stem Cell, ...

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.