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Half of all homeless people may have had traumatic brain injury

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The Guardian

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Abstract

Half of all homeless people may have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their life, according to new research – which experts say could be either a consequence or even the cause of their homelessness.

Traumatic brain injury is sudden damage caused by a blow or jolt to the head, which can be caused by a motor accident, a fall or an assault. Sometimes it can cause long-term damage to the brain, leading to neurological and psychiatric disorders.

A large study compiling research results from six high-income countries – Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US – found that 53% of homeless people had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This, estimate the authors, could be 2.3 to four times the rate for the population as a whole.

In a quarter of homeless people, the injury was moderate to severe, which would be 10 times that of the general population, says the research published in the Lancet Public Health journal.

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