Major Depressive Disorder and Clinical Outcomes Following Traumatic Brain Injury

This month’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (2010; 303(19): 1938-1945 contains an interesting study regarding the rates of major depressive disorder and clinical outcomes following traumatic brain injury.

The objective of the study was to look at the major depressive disorder (MDD) rates, predictors, outcomes, and treatment during the first year following a traumatic brain injury. Five Hundred fifty-nine consecutively hospital adults with complicated mild to severe traumatic brain injury from Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, a Level I trauma center were evaluated. Patients were given the patient health questionnaire PHQ depression and anxiety modules at each assessment as well as the European quality of life measure at one year.

The study found that 297 of patients (53.1%) met the criteria for major depressive disorder at least in the follow-up period. Those with MDD were most likely to report co-morbid anxiety disorders after TBI than those without MDD. Only 44% of those patients with MDD received anti-depressants or counseling. Not surprisingly, persons with MDD reported a lower quality of life after one year compared with the non-depressed group. Thus, the researchers concluded that major depressive disorder was associated with a history of MDD and was an independent predictor of poor health-related quality of life.

I also read an interesting article on CNN.com yesterday which links traumatic brain injuries to depression. You can read the article online here.