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Depression, other psychiatric illnesses common following traumatic brain injury

CHICAGO Many patients who experience a traumatic injury to the brain experience major depression or other psychiatric illnesses within a year after their head injuries, according to two articles in the January issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mood and anxiety disorders are common complications among patients who have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to the article. Studies suggest that depression is also a common psychiatric complication of TBI, however, clinical implication of major depression following TBI have not been extensively studied.

Ricardo E. Jorge, M.D., of the University of Iowa, Iowa City and colleagues studied 91 patients with TBI, and 27 patients with multiple trauma but without any evidence of central nervous system injury as controls. The patients' conditions were evaluated at three, six and twelve months after the injury, and psychiatric diagnosis was made. Neuropsychological testing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain were performed at the three-month follow-up visit.

Of the 91 patients with TBI, 30 (33 percent) had major depressive disorder during the first year after their injury. Major depressive disorder was significantly more frequent among patients with TBI compared to controls. The researchers also found that patients with TBI and depression were more likely to have a history of mood and anxiety disorders than patients with TBI who did not experience depression. Of patients with TBI who also had depression, 76.7 percent also had anxiety, and 56.7 percent exhibited aggressive behavior. Major depression was also associated with worse social functioning at the six- and twelve-month follow-up, as well as reduced gray matter (a brain structure) volumes on brain scans.

(Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61:42-50. Available post-embargo at archgenpsychiatry.com) Editor's Note: This study wa
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Contact: Thomas Moore
319-356-3945
JAMA and Archives Journals
5-Jan-2004


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