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Study links brain injury and violent crime

There are many known complications that commonly result from traumatic brain injuries, such as headaches, an inability to concentrate or work, memory loss, reduced verbal abilities and more. According to a new long-term study, a brain injury may also increase the likelihood that the head trauma victim will someday commit a violent crime against another person.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in Sweden and Great Britain, was one of the largest of its kind ever to be carried out. It examined nearly 23,000 traumatic brain injury victims and compared them with the general population to determine the comparative likelihood that members of each group would commit a homicide, assault, robbery, sex crime, or a similar violent crime.

Specifically, the researchers noted every case of traumatic brain injury recorded in Sweden between 1973 and 2009, and matched each with 10 people who had not suffered a similar injury. After following all of the participants for several years, the researchers concluded that nearly 9 percent of the brain injury victims had been convicted of a violent crime after their diagnosis. In comparison, just 3 percent of the general population had committed such a crime.

The study found that certain types of brain injuries made victims more likely to commit violent crimes, but the media report on the research did not elaborate further.

With this information, the researchers hope that medical professionals who treat brain injury victims in California and throughout the U.S. incorporate some sort of risk assessment and ongoing treatment in order to reduce the risk of violent crimes among this group.

Source: UKPA, "Head injury 'link' to violent crime," Dec. 27, 2011

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