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CONTACT: L. E. OHMAN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
e-mail: le-ohman@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Volunteers sought for study on depression following traumatic brain disorder

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa department of psychiatry is continually seeking persons who have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) to participate in a study on the effectiveness of antidepressants in treating depressive disorders.

In the United States it is estimated that there are 2 million TBIs per year, with 500,000 requiring hospitalization. Most of these injuries occur among adolescents and young adults, and the second highest number of injuries occur after age 65. Motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrians hit by vehicles, are the most frequent cause of TBI, particularly in younger patients. Falls are the second most common cause of head injury among older adults.

Mood disorders are a frequent psychiatric complication of TBI and can delay recovery. At least one in three patients with a TBI will suffer from depression during the first year after the injury. Anxiety is also common among people with TBI, occurring alone or with depression. In addition, personality and behavioral changes are commonly reported by patients and relatives. Patients may act cranky, childish, or even aggressive. They often misjudge the consequences of their action, or they may become quiet and withdrawn.

Studies previously conducted by the UI department of psychiatry show that there is a significant association between poor social functioning and major depression. Family and social relationships are disturbed and patients may have serious problems getting back to their daily activities.

If you are interested in participating in the study on the effectiveness of antidepressants in treating depressive disorders following TBI, call Stephanie Rosazza at (319) 353-5807 or Teresa Kopel at (319)353-4463 for more information.

10/28/98