TBI and Stroke: Study Finds Link Between TBI and Ischemic Strokes
A recent study published in Neurology found a link between traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes, a category which accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases as per the American Stroke Association, are those which are caused by blood clots or other obstructions in the blood vessels which connect to the brain.
The connection between TBI and stroke was made across several TBI subtypes, indicating that the fact that an individual suffered a TBI is what mattered, rather than the severity or subtype of injury. Interestingly, the degree of association between TBI’s and Ischemic strokes was stronger in patients under the age of fifty versus those fifty and over. The studies’ authors hypothesize that behavioral changes in TBI patients lead to unhealthier lifestyles which put them at greater risk for strokes.
It is true that TBI patients will almost always change their behaviors post-injury. For example, injuries to the frontal lobe will result in less impulse control. Couple that with the fact that younger people are generally less inclined to impulse control in the first place and the behaviors that could bring on strokes, such as overeating or drug use will likely be more prevalent in this group.
However, it is also possible that the impact of a traumatic brain injury re-molds brain tissue and blood vessels in such a way as to make them more vulnerable to the clots which result in Ischemic strokes. In this vein, we would do well to consider migraine headaches. Migraines are extremely intense headaches which are often coupled with hypersensitivity to light and sound. The frequency of migraines increase in patients with TBI’s. Since prior research has drawn a link between migraines and Ischemic strokes, it is entirely possible that as TBI’s lead to migraines, so do these migraines, in turn, lead to a greater prevalence of Ischemic strokes.
Zoltan Boka, M.Ed., is presently working on his Ph.D. in speech, language and hearing science. You can read his prior publications at CUNY Academica.edu , follow him on Twitter and connect with him via LinkedIn.