More education may help brain recover

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Apr 23 2014 06:06:26 PM EDT

New research suggests the more education a person has, the better they may recover from a traumatic brain injury.

"What they found was the more education you had obtained prior to having your brain injury, the higher the chances were that you were going to be completely symptom free after a year," explained Cleveland Clinic Neurologist Dr. Jennifer Frontera, who did not take part in the study.

The multi-center study looked at 769 people who were at least 23-years-old and had suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. They were grouped by education level - some had not finished high school, others had graduated high school and attended some college, and the rest had a college degree or higher. Participants were followed for a year or more.

Results show, one year after injury, 39 percent of people who had a college degree or more were disability free and able to return to work, as were 31 percent of the group who had some college education. But only 10 percent of people who did not finish high school were disability free.

Researchers believe the more education someone is exposed to, the better the chances of recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Frontera says the study helps us better understand how plastic our brains are.

"How well can your brain adapt to injury and utilize different portions of your brain to take over tasks that the injured brain used to do? So, they've shown that the more education you have, the more adaptable your brain is to recovery," she said.

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