Concussion Increases Risk of Suicide by 3 Times Population Norm

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Increased long-term risk of suicide, particularly after concussions on weekends
Increased long-term risk of suicide, particularly after concussions on weekends

HealthDay News — The risk of suicide is increased after concussion, particularly after concussions on weekends, according to a study published online February 8 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Michael Fralick, MD, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal cohort analysis involving adults with a diagnosis of concussion from April 1, 1992, to March 31, 2012. The authors examined the long-term risk of suicide after weekend or weekday concussion.

The researchers identified 235 110 patients with a concussion during the study period. During a median follow-up of 9.3 years there were 667 subsequent suicides, which were equivalent to 31 deaths per 100 000 patients/year, or three-fold the population norm. The risk of suicide was increased one-third further with weekend concussions versus weekday concussions (relative risk, 1.36). The increased risk was seen irrespective of patient demographics and was independent of psychiatric history. The risk became accentuated with time and exceeded that of military personnel. In the last week of life, half of these patients had visited a physician.

"Greater attention to the long-term care of patients after a concussion in the community might save lives because deaths from suicide can be prevented," the authors write.

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