Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers shocked by new statistics on head injuries among people who are homeless

Date:
May 16, 2013
Source:
St. Michael's Hospital
Summary:
Men who are heavy drinkers and homeless for long periods of time have 400 times the number of head injuries as the general population, according to a new study by researchers who said they were shocked by their findings.

Men who are heavy drinkers and homeless for long periods of time have 400 times the number of head injuries as the general population, according to a new study by researchers who said they were shocked by their findings.

Related Articles


These men have 170 times as many severe head injuries as the general population and 300 times as many injuries that cause bleeding in the brain.

The study by Dr. Tomislav Svoboda, a family physician at St. Michael's Hospital, appears online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The study also looked at head injuries in the general homeless population and among people who are vulnerably housed, meaning they live in crowded, unsafe or unaffordable housing or are in danger of becoming homeless. Both these groups had about 23 times the number of head injuries as the general population, but rates much lower than the chronically homeless.

Previous studies of head injuries among people who are homeless have been based on interviews. Dr. Svoboda, a researcher in the hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health, said his study is the first based on actual Emergency Department records over five years and the first to compare people who are homeless with the general population based on that data. They looked at all head injuries from slight concussions to brain hemorrhages.

"We were shocked by the number if head injuries," said Dr. Tomislav. "In medicine, we worry when something occurs two or three times more often in a particular patient group, but to talk about magnitudes of 300 or 400 is unheard of."

Dr. Svoboda also found the length of time between head injuries shortened as the number went up. The mean interval between head injuries was 231 days. That decreased by an average of 11.8 days with each subsequent head injury.

Having a seizure disorder, drug dependence or a head injury in the previous year were the main predictors of whether someone would have another head injury. Previous research has found that people who are homeless are at greater risk of being assaulted or being victims of violence. Dr. Svoboda said the numbers in his study suggest that head injuries are causing physical changes such as dizziness, memory loss, impaired cognitive functions and mental health issues, which lead to more head injuries.

"We need to do something for this group--we're seeing data that suggests they are in a downward spiral," said Dr. Svoboda. "We need to develop programs to understand and treat this serious and permanent problem. When the brain is injured, you can't fix it. We need to identify and support these people."

Dr. Svoboda said one answer could be to do more CT scans on people identified as being at risk.

In the general population in Canada, about 12 in every 10,000 men have a head injury that might involve a brain injury each year. Among the chronically homeless the number is 4,800 every year. Among men who are in low income housing each year, 370 in every 10,000 have such a head injury.

This study was funded by the Central East Health Information Partnership, the former City of Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support Division, Physician Services Inc. and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael's Hospital. The original article was written by Leslie Shepherd. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Michael's Hospital. "Researchers shocked by new statistics on head injuries among people who are homeless." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516142650.htm>.
St. Michael's Hospital. (2013, May 16). Researchers shocked by new statistics on head injuries among people who are homeless. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516142650.htm
St. Michael's Hospital. "Researchers shocked by new statistics on head injuries among people who are homeless." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516142650.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins