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Seniors Can Sustain Brain Trauma from Falls

Falls resulting in traumatic brain injuries kill thousands of U.S. seniors a year

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 8,000 American seniors died in 2005 due to traumatic brain injury sustained as the result of a fall, and almost 56,000 were hospitalized, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the June issue of the Journal of Safety Research.

K.E. Thomas, and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Atlanta, analyzed 2005 data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Men sustained more traumatic brain injuries, at 26.9 per 100,000 versus 17.8 per 100,000 for women, but both sexes had similar rates of hospitalization due to traumatic brain injury at 146.3 and 158.3 per 100,000 for men and women, respectively. The median total cost of hospitalization for traumatic brain injury was $19,191 for men, and $16,006 for women, the report indicates.

"Most people think older adults may only break their hip when they fall, but our research shows that traumatic brain injuries can also be a serious consequence," said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in a statement. "These injuries can cause long-term problems and affect how someone thinks or functions. They can also impact a person's emotional well-being."

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