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Traumatic Brain Injury in New Jersey, 1997

Conclusions

Traumatic brain injuries affect persons of all ages in New Jersey, particularly the young and the elderly. Overall, males aged 15-24 years, 75 years and over, and residents of selected areas are at greatest risk of TBI-related mortality and morbidity. Among the young, TBIs most often involve motor vehicles, and assaults, while falls are the leading causes of TBIs among the elderly and very young children. The hospitalized survivors outnumbered decedents by 7:1 in 1997 compared to 9:1 in 1994. Some of the recent declines in hospitalizations may be caused by shifts in medical treatment of more mild TBIs to outpatient and emergency rooms. Despite declining number of non-fatal hospitalizations, the number of persons who incur a TBI each year remains large.

To improve efforts at prevention, the NJDOH will continue surveillance of incidence, risk factors, causes and outcomes related to TBIs. Future efforts may include studying the epidemiology and long term consequences of TBI. The development of age-specific prevention strategies to address the major causes of TBI - motor vehicles, falls, and violence - is essential. Prevention of such injuries is likely to result in enormous savings in terms of direct costs, long term care and rehabilitation as well as indirect costs and human suffering.

 
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Department of Health
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