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Quality of life after traumatic brain injury: a cross-sectional analysis uncovers age- and sex-related differences over the adult life span.

Geroscience. 2020 Oct 17. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00273-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33070278.

Authors/Editors: Rauen K, Späni CB, Tartaglia MC, Ferretti MT, Reichelt L, Probst P, Schäpers B, Müller F, Jahn K, Plesnila N.
Publication Date: 2020


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability in the working population and becomes increasingly prevalent in the elderly. Thus, TBI is a major global health burden. However, age- and sex-related long-term outcome regarding patient’s health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is yet not clarified. In this cross-sectional study, we present age- and sex-related demographics and HRQoL up to 10 years after TBI using the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) instrument. The QOLIBRI total score ranges from zero to 100 indicating good (≥ 60), moderate (40–59) or unfavorable (< 40) HRQoL. Two-thirds of the entire chronic TBI cohort (102 males; 33 females) aged 18–85 years reported good HRQoL up to 10 years after TBI. TBI etiology differed between sexes with females suffering more often from traffic- than fall-related TBI (p = 0.01) with increasing prevalence during aging (p = < 0.001). HRQoL (good/moderate/unfavorable) differed between sexes (p < 0.0001) with 17% more females reporting moderate outcome (p = 0.01). Specifically, older females (54–76-years at TBI) were affected, while males constantly reported good HRQoL (p = 0.017). Cognition (p = 0.014), self-perception (p = 0.009), and emotions (p = 0.016) rather than physical problems (p = 0.1) constrained older females’ HRQoL after TBI. Experiencing TBI during aging does not influence HRQoL outcome in males but females suggesting that female brains cope less well with a traumatic injury during aging. Therefore, older females need long-term follow-ups after TBI to detect neuropsychiatric sequels that restrict their quality of life. Further investigations are necessary to uncover the mechanisms of this so far unknown phenomenon.

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