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Notice to Readers: Brain Injury Awareness Month --- March 2008

Each year, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. An estimated 5.3 million persons in the United States (nearly 2% of the U.S. population) have a long-term or lifelong need for help in performing activities of daily living as a result of a TBI (1), and an additional 1.6 million sustain a TBI each year (2).

This March, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC is launching the Help Seniors Live Better, Longer: Prevent Brain Injury initiative. This initiative was developed in collaboration with 26 organizations to help raise awareness about TBIs and to help adult children and other caregivers prevent, recognize, and respond to TBIs among older adults, one of the groups at highest risk for this type of injury.

As part of this initiative, CDC has developed 1) a brochure and fact sheet for caregivers that includes the signs and symptoms of TBI and how to respond if they suspect that an older adult in their care has sustained a TBI, and 2) a booklet for older adults that includes information on TBI and steps they can take to reduce their risk for falling. In addition, CDC has developed electronic greeting cards, a refrigerator magnet, and posters for caregivers and a media access guide and event planning guide designed to help organizations raise awareness about TBI.

Family members and other caregivers can help protect older adults in their care by reducing their risk for falls, recognizing signs of TBI when a fall occurs, and taking the appropriate steps when signs of TBI are observed. Additional information about CDC's Help Seniors Live Better, Longer: Prevent Brain Injury initiative is available at http://www.cdc.gov/braininjuryinseniors. Additional information about CDC's TBI-related activities, educational initiatives, and research is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/tbi/tbi.htm.

References

  1. Thurman D, Alverson C, Dunn K, Guerrero J, Sniezek J. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: a public health perspective. J Head Trauma Rehabil 1999;14:602--15.
  2. Rutland-Brown W, Langlois JA, Thomas KE, Xi YL. Incidence of traumatic brain injury in the United States, 2003. J Head Trauma Rehabil 2006;21:544--8.

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Date last reviewed: 3/5/2008

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