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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
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“Central nervous system injuries are among the most serious types of injuries. They are often fatal or can lead to disability requiring continuing treatment and support,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. “This report highlights the need for vigorous prevention efforts as well as targeted research to develop better treatments for people living with these serious injuries.”
The state’s Central Nervous System Injury report, which will be released annually, summarizes the incidence of two types of injury in 2000 -- traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) requiring hospitalization of the victim or resulting in death. Serious TBI includes skull fracture, concussion or loss of consciousness. SCI is damage to the spinal cord that can result in loss of function such as mobility or feeling. The report does not include less serious brain injuries where the person did not seek medical care, or was treated and released from the emergency department.
In 2000, 8,006 people suffered serious traumatic brain injury and 257 suffered spinal cord injuries. Of those with SCI, 69 also had a brain injury. There were 990 deaths as a result.
Central nervous system injury has the greatest impact on the elderly. Not only do they have the highest central nervous system injury rates of any age group, people age 65 and older are also more likely to die as a result of their injuries. Eighteen percent of TBIs to the elderly were fatal – a higher rate than any other age group.
Although motor vehicle accidents have declined steadily in the state and nation in the past several decades, transportation-related accidents remain the leading cause of central nervous system injury for the state as a whole, with 3,085 such injuries reported in 2000. Most of those injured were motor vehicle occupants, but motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists are also at risk. Falls accounted for 2,878 injuries, 674 were related to assault, 185 were from self-inflicted injuries and the remainder were due to unknown or other causes.
The following are additional highlights from the report:
Motor Vehicle Injury
In addition to conducting CNS injury surveillance, the department maintains a registry of central nervous system injury data. The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Injury Research and the recently formed New Jersey Commission on Traumatic Brain Injury Research provide funding to New Jersey researchers working in the areas of treatment and improved outcomes for those with central nervous injuries. In addition, the two Commissions support the central nervous system injury registry in order to aid prevention efforts.
The full report may be viewed at http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/cns.htm.
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360