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Could a College Education Improve Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery?

A college education can help you do a lot of things in life, like find a better job, or live in a nicer house. But could it also help you recover from a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? One research says yes.

A new study by Johns Hopkins researcher Eric B. Schneider, Ph.D., found that TBI victims with at least a college education are seven times more likely to be disability-free one year after the injury than their counterparts who never finished high school. The study was limited to traumatic brain injuries serious enough to require inpatient and rehabilitation treatment, which makes the finding even more significant.

Researchers have long wondered why some TBI patients experience lifelong disability affecting every aspect of their lives while others with similar injuries make a full recovery. Schneider says:

“Our work suggests that cognitive reserve — the brain’s ability to be resilient in the face of insult or injury — could account for the difference.”

The finding is similar to recent developments in Alzheimer’s disease research. There it is believed that having reached higher levels of educational achievement can result in a more active, effective use of the brain’s “muscles” – the cognitive reserve. In the case of Alzheimer’s this has been linked to slower progression of dementia.

In the case of traumatic brain injury, higher education could correlate to a better ability to heal. Schneider believes:

“People with increased cognitive reserve capabilities may actually heal in a different way that allows them to return to their pre-injury function and/or they may be able to better adapt and form new pathways in their brains to compensate for the injury.”

Further research is needed to find out more about TBI recovery and how to help people with less education. But the discovery of the importance of cognitive reserve could lead to better recoveries for more TBI patients in the near future.

Traumatic brain injury is complicated to understand, and even more difficult to predict. If you or someone you love have suffered from TBI as a result of an auto accident, you need an expert to help you get your injuries covered. The lawyers at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan, have been representing TBI patients for years. They understand the injury, the costs, and the difficulties victims face. Contact David Christensen and his team today for a consultation to help you get the best recovery from your TBI injury.