Studies to Help Treat People with TBI Helping People without TBI, Too

Researchers are finding that issues like depression that plague people with TBI are not that different from how they affect people without TBI.

See more videos with Dr. Malec.

The more we learn about people with brain injury, the more people with brain injury are not that different than people without brain injury. One study we did looked at depression and the elements of depression after brain injury, and we were expecting it to be a very different kind of presentation, much more dependent on brain function. And when it got right down to it, what we found is that the biggest driver of depression was that people were saying negative things to themselves about their condition, which is the biggest driver of depression in the non-brain-injured population. I think when we started all of this 30 years ago, people with brain injury were such a mystery to us, we really focused on the differences. I think as we learn more, we're focusing on the similarities-- or they're becoming more apparent. That also opens up the exciting possibility that we will learn things from people with brain injury that are applicable to people without brain injury. The kinds of things we learn about treating depression--for instance, in brain injury-- may be very applicable and inform the science in terms of treating people who are depressed but don't have a brain injury.
Posted on BrainLine November 1, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.