(HealthDay News) – Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with a higher risk of premature death, especially from suicide, injuries, and assaults, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Seena Fazel, MD, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed mortality data from all persons born in Sweden in 1954 or later, where 218,300 were diagnosed with TBI from 1969–2009, 2,163,190 were population controls matched by age and sex, and 150,513 were unaffected siblings of patients with TBI.

Six months after TBI, the researchers found an increased risk of mortality compared with both the general population (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.2) and unaffected siblings (aOR, 2.6). Mortality risk was higher for external causes, including suicide (aOR, 3.3), injuries (aOR, 4.3), and assault (aOR, 3.9). Death rates were high in patients with any psychiatric or substance abuse comorbidity (3.8% died prematurely) and substance abuse alone (6.2%) compared with no comorbidity (0.5%).

“Traumatic brain injury is associated with substantially elevated risks of premature mortality, particularly for suicide, injuries, and assaults, even after adjustment for sociodemographic and familial factors,” Fazel and colleagues conclude.

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