Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Traumatic brain injury in older adults

Canterbury researching impact of traumatic brain injury on older adults

July 3, 2014

A University of Canterbury research project is seeking to find out the impact of traumatic brain injury on adults aged 50 to 65.

In 2011, nearly one in three people in the New Zealand workforce were aged over 50 and one in 10 were over 60. Older adults contribute a significant part of the workforce and it is important that older adults are supported to maintain independence and continue engagement in the workforce and wider community.

University of Canterbury postgraduate researcher Katie Dainter says events such as orthopaedic injury or traumatic brain injury could result in a loss of independence and community engagement. Evidence suggests that there is a relationship between older age and poorer outcomes, which persists even after other variables such as injury severity, number of injuries and complications are controlled for.

``Even mild traumatic brain injury or concussion can have serious effects on older adults’ well-being, whereas younger adults may recover more quickly and effectively from a similar injury.

``There is also some evidence suggesting that as the lasting effects of traumatic brain injury are difficult to differentiate from the effects of normal aging, therefore it is possible that the symptoms of the injury in older adults aren’t being managed in the same way as the symptoms in younger adults.

It is estimated that there are more than 36,000 new traumatic brain injuries each year. The number of New Zealanders with traumatic brain injuries has reached epidemic levels, with a new injury occurring on average every 15 minutes. Most were due to falls, 38 per cent, followed by mechanical forces, transport accidents, and assaults.

There is a significant amount of research looking at adults aged 65 and over, but fairly limited research into the effects of injury on adults aged 50 -65.

It is important to look at the 50-64 demographic as people are working well into their 60s and investigating whether an injury in older adults is preventing them from continuing to work is critical to society.

Dainter, whose research is being supervised by Dr Audrey McKinley, is looking at life roles, such as whether people are involved in their community, volunteering, participating in hobbies, doing things around the house and studying and whether having an injury affects these roles.

``We will also be asking people how they perceive their quality of life, general health and happiness. We will be looking at 30 people who have had head injuries, 30 people who have broken an arm or leg, and 30 people who have not had injuries.

``All participants will be aged between 50 and 65 and will have had their injury within that age range. We will be comparing the two types of injuries to see if the lasting effects and the rehabilitation they received differed. We will also be comparing those with injuries to those who haven’t had an injury, to see how their employment, life roles and quality of life differ.

``Our research hopes to find a difference in the lasting effects of traumatic brain injury and orthopaedic injury on return to work, life roles and quality of life, and to provide more evidence for the suggestion that even mild injury in older adults can have a devastating effect on people’s quality of life. This project could contribute to improvements in the way traumatic brain injury is managed in older adulthood,’’ Dainter says.

If people are interested in participating in the study they can contact postgraduate student Katie Dainter on


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news