IDK: Head injuries and schizophrenia risk
Schizophrenia affects one in every 100 people, usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35 years old, with both men and women equally susceptible to diagnosis. The exact causes of schizophrenia are difficult to pin down, but experts suspect both genetic and environmental factors are at play. Additionally studies have found head injuries could play a role in the development of schizophrenia.
Charlene Molloy, from the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and her colleagues constructed a meta-analysis of several studies looking at traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) correlating with schizophrenia diagnoses. Of 172 studies, Molloy picked nine as particularly relevant. This collection of research found schizophrenia and brain injuries appear together quite often. The severity of the head injury didn’t seem to affect schizophrenia risk but genetic factors did increase the negative impact of TBIs.
Even as the schizophrenia debate continues Molloy points out one-third of TBI survivors experience ill effects of some kind after injury. Protecting the head should remain paramount for athletes and workers in dangerous environments, including construction sites.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend always wearing seatbelts in the car. Infants should use a car seat that fits securely. Young children need booster seats “until the lap/shoulder belts in the car fit properly, typically when they are approximately 4’9” tall.”
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other mind altering drugs is also strongly discouraged by the CDC and deemed illegal by the government.
Currently, it is illegal for minors in 22 states and the District of Columbia to ride a bike without a helmet. California could become the first state to make it mandatory for adults to wear helmets while biking. Whatever the law states, all bicyclists should wear helmets, as studies have shown the practice reducing head injury risk by 85 percent. Buying a helmet that fits well is paramount for keeping this hazard down.
Steps to reduce risk around the home will also keep the noggin safe, according to the CDC. Handrails on stairs, removal of obstacles on the ground and investing in non-slip mats in bathrooms and garages will benefit all, especially the elderly and young family members.
Sovereign Health Group is a mental provider that cares about mental and physical safety, ready to help patients cope with their mental illnesses, no matter the cause. Call today for a referral to a premier facility near you.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer