JIJITANG2014-06-26 6:04 PM

CONCUSSIONS LINKED TO HOMELESSNESS IN MEN

A recent study of homeless men in Toronto shows that almost half had suffered at least one traumatic brain injury in their life and the majority of those injuries occurred before the men lost their homes.

While assaults were a major cause of those traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, 60 percent were caused by potentially non-violent mechanisms such as sports and recreation (44 percent) and motor vehicle collisions and falls (42 percent).

The study, led by Jane Topolovec-Vranic, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, was published in the journal CMAJ Open.

Topolovec-Vranic says it’s important for health care providers and others who work with homeless people to be aware of any history of TBI because of the links between such injuries and mental health issues, substance abuse, seizures, and general poorer physical health.

RISK FACTOR
The fact that so many homeless men suffered a TBI before losing their home suggests such injuries could be a risk factor for becoming homeless, she says. That makes it even more important to monitor young people who suffer TBIs such as concussions for health and behavioral changes, she says.

Topolovec-Vranic looked at data on 111 homeless men aged 27 to 81 years old who were recruited from a downtown Toronto men’s shelter. She found that 45 percent of these men had experienced a traumatic brain injury. Of these, 70 percent were injured during childhood or teenage years and 87 percent experienced an injury before becoming homeless.

In men under age 40, falls from drug/alcohol blackouts were the most common cause of traumatic brain injury, while assault was the most common in men over 40 years old.

Recognition that a TBI sustained in childhood or early teenage years could predispose someone to homelessness may challenge some assumptions that homelessness is a conscious choice made by these individuals, or just the result of their addictions or mental illness, says Topolovec-Vranic.

RELATED STUDY
Separately, a recent study by Stephen Hwang of the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health and an associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto found the number of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed and who have also suffered a TBI may be as high as 61 percent—seven times higher than the general population.

Hwang’s study, published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, is one of the largest studies to date investigating TBI in homeless populations. The findings come from the Health and Housing in Transition Study, which tracks the health and housing status of homeless and vulnerably housed people in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation provided funding for Topolovec-Vranic’s study.

KEYWORDS

SHARE & LIKE

COMMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JIJITANG

0 Following 3 Fans 0 Projects 310 Articles

SIMILAR ARTICLES

Changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have resulted in families eating more fruits and vegetable

Read More

In contests drawn from game theory, chimpanzee pairs consistently outperform humans in games that test memory and strategic thinking.A new study, condu

Read More

Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s

Read More

Pornography triggers brain activity in people with compulsive sexual behaviour -- known commonly as sex addiction -- similar to that triggered by drugs

Read More

In a recent survey, academic staff at the University identified the interrelated skills of writing and reasoning as the two most important skills for s

Read More

In a recent survey, academic staff at the University identified the interrelated skills of writing and reasoning as the two most important skills for s

Read More

Reading cautionary tales like The Boy Who Cried Wolf and Pinocchio to little kids might not be the best way to teach them to tell the truth.New researc

Read More

Those flat, glassy solar panels on your neighbor’s roof may be getting a more efficient makeover, thanks to a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle

Read More

Physicists have overcome a major challenge in the science of measurement using quantum mechanics. They’ve used multiple detectors to measure photons in

Read More

If you want to slow down long enough to smell the proverbial roses, you might want to move to a neighborhood with fewer drive-thru restaurants, researc

Read More