Brain Trauma Linked to Homelessness in Males, New Study Shows
In a new study done by St. Michael’s Hospital, results showed that almost half of all homeless men who partook had suffered at least one traumatic brain injury in their life. 87% of those injuries occurred before the men lost their homes. The study, led by Dr. Jane Topolovec-Vranic, who works in the hospital’s Neuroscience Research Program, was published in the journal CMAJ OPEN.
The study showed that assaults were a major cause of the traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s for short), accounting for about 60%. There were also other non-violent ways that the men received these injuries, such as sports and recreation, which made up 44% of the injuries as well as motor vehicle collisions and falls, which compiled 42% of the TBI’s. The findings in this study suggest that such injuries could be a risk factor for becoming homeless, according to Topolovec-Vranic. The doctor looked at data on 111 homeless men between the ages of 27-81. They all were recruited from a downtown Toronto men’s homeless shelter. Her findings also included 45% of these men experiencing a traumatic brain injury, and of these, 70% were injured during childhood or teenage years. Interestingly enough, in men under 40 years old, falls from drug/alcohol blackouts were the most common cause of TBI. In men over 40 years old, assault was the most common cause.
The article concluded by talking about the fact that a TBI could predispose someone to homelessness, and that this thought may challenge assumptions that homelessness is a conscious choice made by individuals in a given situation, or the result of their addictions or mental illnesses. I think that this is a good question to ponder. There are a number of reasons why a person may be in his or her situation, and who are we to judge them for how they are living their life at any given moment?
Posted by Taylor Schille (Group C)