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What is the study about?

There is evidence that individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are at a higher risk for chronic health problems. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of both medical and psychiatric comorbidities that appeared before and up to 10 years following TBI requiring acute rehabilitation.

What did the study find?

This study found that the most common comorbidities 10 years post injury were back pain, depression, hypertension, anxiety, fractures, high blood cholesterol, sleep disorders, panic attacks, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Comorbidities such as cholesterol, osteoarthritis, and hypertension were significantly more common in the older cohort (10-year follow-up at the age of 50 or older), whereas panic attacks were significantly more common in the younger cohort (10-year follow-up before the age of 50). No significant differences were found between the two cohorts for back pain, depression, anxiety, fractures, and sleep disorders.

Who participated in the study?

Participants included 404 individuals within the TBI Model Systems National Database. All participants experienced TBI 10 years prior to the study.

How was the study conducted?

All participants were asked the questions from the Medical and Mental Health Comorbidities Interview (MMHCI) at their ten-year follow-up. For each MMHCI comorbidity confirmed by participants, they were asked follow-up questions regarding whether the comorbidity was diagnosed before, at the same time, or after TBI.

How can people use the results?

Clinicians can use the results of this study to familiarize themselves with the types of comorbidities associated with patients with TBI ten years following injury. Being aware of these comorbidities may also help clinicians better plan for treatments and preventive measures. Individuals with TBI and their families can use the results to better understand they types of comorbidities associated with TBI ten years following injury.


Hammond, F. M., Corrigan, J. D., Ketchum, J. M., Malec, J. F., Dams-Oʼconnor, K., Hart, T., . . . Whiteneck, G. G. (2019). Prevalence of Medical and Psychiatric Comorbidities Following Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 1. doi:10.1097/htr.0000000000000465


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DP0082). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this quick review do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.