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Half of Homeless People May Have Suffered a Brain Injury

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet Public Health journal, people who are homeless experience a disproportionately high lifetime prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Researchers examined studies from six high-income countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the U.S. The studies included people who were homeless or experiencing unstable housing situations. The researchers compared the information to new and existing cases of TBI, and looked at the association between health and TBI. They found that one in two homeless people (53%) experience a traumatic brain injury, and almost one in four homeless people (25%) experience a traumatic brain injury that is moderate or severe.

The study also linked TBI to poor physical and mental health, including increased suicide risk, memory problems and increased involvement with the criminal justice system. Lead study author Jacob Stubbs explained, “Traumatic brain injury may be an important factor in the complex health challenges faced by this population. Our work emphasizes that health care professionals and frontline workers should be aware of the burden of TBI in this population, and how it relates to health and functioning."

The results of the study suggest that TBI may be a cause of homelessness, as well as a consequence of homelessness. The study authors note that more research is needed to thoroughly understand the effects and consequences of TBI in homeless people — a vulnerable population.

The accumulation of mild head trauma over time has been shown to raise your risk for neurological dysfunction later in life. This includes not only Alzheimer’s but also Parkinson’s disease. According to research, even a single concussion could increase your risk for Parkinson’s disease by up to 83%, depending on the severity of the injury.