June 25, 2013—One in five adolescents surveyed in Ontario said they have
suffered a traumatic brain injury that left them unconscious for five minutes
or required them to be hospitalized overnight, a statistic researchers in
Toronto say is much higher than previously thought.
such as ice hockey and soccer accounted for more than half the injuries, said
Dr. Gabreila Ilie, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at St.
brain injuries, such as concussions, were reported more often by males than
females, by those with lower school grades and by those who used alcohol or
cannabis in the previous 12 months, she said.
study was to be published Wednesday (June 26) in the Journal of the American
Ilie said this is one of the first studies of traumatic brain injury to focus
only on adolescents and to include all of their self-reported TBIs. Most
previous studies were based their reporting only on hospital records.
Concussion is the most common form of traumatic brain injury.
data used in the study were from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health
Survey (OSDUHS) developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The
survey, one of the longest ongoing school surveys in the world, contains
responses from almost 9,000 students from Grades 7-12 in publicly funded
schools across Ontario.
The OSDUHS began as a drug use survey, but is now a broader study of adolescent
health and well-being. For the first time in 2011, questions about traumatic
brain injury were added to the survey.
questions about TBI were added to the OSDUHS because there were no current data
on prevalence in the adolescent population,” said Dr. Robert Mann, a senior
scientist at CAMH and director of the OSDUHS. “Early research has indicated
that there may be links between TBI’s and mental health and substance use
during adolescence – we plan to study this in the near future.”
survey found that 20% per cent of adolescents in Ontario said they had had a traumatic brain
injury in their lifetime. It found that 5.6 per cent of them had had such an
injury in the past 12 months.
Ilie said this suggests the prevalence of TBI among young people is much higher
than previously known, because many head injuries remain uncounted when they are
not being reported to parents, teachers, sports coaches or health care workers.
In Canada, 50% of
all injuries that kill and disable youth involve a TBI.
new research found that 46.9 per cent of the TBIs reported by adolescent
females occurred during sports (e.g., hockey, skate boarding); the figure was
63.5 per cent for males.
Students who reported drinking alcohol
occasionally/frequently and those who reported using cannabis 10 or more times
over the past 12 months had more than five times and more than three the odds,
respectively, of acquiring a traumatic brain injury in the past 12 months than
students who reported abstinence. The survey also showed that students who
reported overall poor grades at school (below 60 per cent) had almost four
times the odds of a lifetime acquired brain injury than students who reported grades at or above
90 per cent.
brain injury is preventable,” said Dr. Ilie. “If we know who is more
vulnerable, when and how these injuries are occurring, we can talk to students,
coaches, and parents about it. We can take preventive action and find viable
solutions to reduce their occurrence and long-term effects.”
injuries among adolescents are particularly concerning because their brains are
still developing. There is growing evidence that people who have had one or
more concussions are at greater risk of future concussions, and evidence that
multiple brain injuries can result in lasting cognitive impairment, substance
use, mental health and physical health harms.
study is part of a team project grant awarded to Dr. Michael Cusimano, a
neurosurgeon and concussion researcher at St. Michael’s by the Canadian
Institutes for Health Research and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. The work
was also supported by grants to Dr. Robert Mann, a senior member of the
research team and a scientist at CAMH from
Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding
medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines.
Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care,
care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized
areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing
International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing
Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are
recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital
is fully affiliated with the University
more information or to interview Dr. Ilie, contact: 905 409-7930; firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager, Media Strategy
Communications and Public Affairs Department
St. Michael’s Hospital
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The Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and
addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research
centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected
by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health
Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For
more information, please visit www.camh.ca.
more information on OSDUHS or to interview Dr. Mann, please contact: 416 535-8501
CAMH Media Relations
(416) 595 6015