EU: New study reveals the high cost of traumatic brain injury in years of life lost

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health threat contributing to mortality and morbidity around the world, according to a study in PLOS Medicine that quantifies the burden of TBI on the populations of Europe

Marek Majdan of Trnava University, Slovakia, and colleagues calculated the years of life lost (YLL) due to TBI for 16 European countries, using data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The researchers found that a total of 17,049 TBI deaths occurred in the countries in 2013, translating into 374,636 YLL. Each TBI death was, on average, associated with 24.3 YLL and the summary rate was 259.1 TBI YLL per 100,000 people.

Males accounted for significantly more TBI YLL than females (82 per cent of all TBI YLL). Falls and traffic accidents were the most common external cause of TBI YLL. Extrapolating the numbers to the entire EU, about 1.3 million YLL were attributable to TBI in 2013.

“We believe this information could facilitate policy makers in tailoring preventive action so that the respective measures are targeted to the high-risk populations,” the researchers say. “Communicating the implications of TBI deaths using YLLs as a measure, rather than the number of deaths, may help the general public to better grasp the magnitude of the problem, and could help to raise awareness about TBI as a major public health problem in general."

The study was conducted as part of the Collaborative European Neurotrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) supported by the EU’s Framework Programme 7.

Years of life lost due to traumatic brain injury in Europe: A cross-sectional analysis of 16 countries. PLoS Med 14(7): e1002331. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002331

 

 

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