New Study Examines Long Term Health Impacts of Concussion
(Boston, MA) – While chronic neurological effects from concussion have been widely studied, little is known about possible links between concussion and long-term medical and behavioral comorbidities. A new retrospective analysis titled “Concussion and Risk of Chronic Medical and Behavioral Health Comorbidities” in Journal of NeuroTrauma examined the issue. Researchers performed a retrospective cohort study of 9,205 adult concussion patients, matched to non-concussion controls from a hospital-based electronic medical registry. Study participants were followed for up to 10 years to identify comorbidity incidence after a concussion. The findings were that a much higher incidence of co-morbidities was seen in the concussion patient group, with most comorbidities developing less than five years post-concussion. The risks for post-concussion comorbidities were also higher in patients under 40 years old compared to controls.
Collaborating with Principle Investigator, Ross Zafonte, DO, Chair of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, Research, and Education and Senior Investigator, Saef Izzy, MD, Neurocritical Care Faculty and Assistant Professor in Neurology Harvard Medical School Department of Neurology, researchers on the paper were based out of the Harvard Medical School, Morehouse Medical School, Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
“This study highlights the significant effect on overall health of concussion both in the short and long-term. These findings show we need to create more treatments and structures in place to support this population and address these issues in a timely manner to ensure better outcomes,” said Zafonte.
The study reported that although many post-concussive symptoms may resolve without treatment, concussions may have substantial, long-term consequences at any age.
Additionally, the study found young adults who sustain concussions are at relatively high risk for comorbid events compared to controls. “Further studies are needed to understand the biopsychosocial links, investigate the causality or directionality of these comorbidities, and assess the role of medical surveillance and preventive protocols,” concluded Zafonte.
About Spaulding Rehabilitation Network
A member of MassGeneral Brigham Health System, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, with a main campus in Charlestown the 2nd ranked rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report, along with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center Brighton, and over 25 outpatient sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts. An acclaimed teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and home to the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding is recognized as the top residency program in the U.S. in the 2020/2021 Doximity Residency Navigator. Spaulding also was recognized by the 2020 Disability Equality Index as a “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.” For more information, visit www.spauldingrehab.org.