Alcohol and brain injury
Summary: Binge drinking is a recognized problem in Scandanavia. Finland's experience may not be entirely applicable elsewhere, but the link between alcohol and bicycle crashes is revealing.
Alcohol Intake and the Pattern of Trauma in Young Adults and Working Aged People Admitted After Traumaby Olli Savola
Department of Neurology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland
Published online on May 3, 2005
© The Authors 2005. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Medical Council on Alcohol. All rights reserved
Results: On admission, 51% of the patients had alcohol in their blood. Binge drinking was the predominant (78%) drinking pattern of alcohol intake. Assaults, falls and biking accidents were the most frequent causes of trauma. Dependent alcohol drinking and binge drinking were found to be significantly more common among patients with head trauma than in those with other types of trauma (77% vs 59%, OR = 2.38; 95% CI 1.50 to 3.77). The OR for sustaining head injury increased sharply with increasing BAC: 1-99 mg/dl (1.24; 95% CI 0.55-2.01), 100-149 mg/dl 1.64; 95% CI 0.71-3.77), 150-199 mg/dl (3.20; 95% CI 1.57-6.53) and >199 mg/dl (9.23; 95% CI 4.79-17.79).
Conclusions: Binge drinking is a major risk factor for head trauma among trauma patients. Assaults, falls and biking accidents are the commonest causes for such injuries. The relative risk for head injury markedly increases with increasing blood alcohol levels. Alcohol control measures should feature in policies aiming at the prevention of trauma-related morbidity and mortality.
This page was updated or partially revised on: January 7, 2017.