A new study on participants in a Toronto homeless shelter found that 45 percent of the homeless men in the research had suffered some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). And amongst them, 87 percent of their brain injuries had occurred before the men became homeless. . They encompassed a broad age range and all completed a detailed series of questions chronicling their mental health history. The St. Michael’s Hospital study also mirrors a similar study released last week in which half of all men entering NY jail system aged 16-18 reported a TBI before they were arrested. According to Dr. Jane Toplovec-Vranic who led this study “You have a concussion, and you can’t concentrate or focus. Their thinking abilities and personalities change. They can’t manage at work, and they may lose their job, and eventually lose their families. And then it’s a negative spiral.” A concussion is not merely an injury but it triggers whole lots of events that runs a gamut of social, economic personal territories for which no agency wants to own up. Cluster principle applies here.
“You need to train the correction officers to understand brain injuries so that when somebody may be acting rude or answering back or forgetting what they’re supposed to do, it’s not a sign of maladaptive misbehavior or disrespect, it’s a sign of a brain injury,” Wayne Gordon, a brain injury expert at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, said about that study’s results.
The St. Michael’s study looked at the cases of 111 homeless men and found that assault accounted for some 60 percent of the TBI’s. Drug and alcohol were the leading factors for men under 40, while assault was the most common factor for men over 40 years of age.Amongst those cases, sports and recreation related injuries accounted for 44 percent of the TBI’s, while motor vehicle accidents or falls made up another 42 percent. A significant percentage of people received their TBI in non-violent accidents. “Injury commonly predated the onset of homelessness, with most participants experiencing their first injury in childhood,” Topolovec-Vranic wrote in the study, which was published in the journal CMAJ Open.“Additional research is needed to understand the complex interactions among homelessness, traumatic brain injury, mental illness and substance use.”(ack: Eric Pfeiffer/Yahoo News of April, 26,2014)