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Purpose – Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a significant public health problem that affect an estimated 1.7 million US residents yearly. TBI patients experience a variety of symptoms related to physical functioning, sensory processing, cognition, communication, behavior, and mental health, all of which differ in severity by individual. Recent evidence suggests that hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction may be impacting recovery. The purpose of this paper is to increase awareness about the frequency of hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction following a TBI and its effect on functional recovery. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the literature regarding hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction following TBI and discusses the potential benefits of hormone replacement therapy for individuals with hormone deficiencies. Findings – The rate of hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction following TBI has been reported as anywhere between 25 and 80 percent. Specifically, abnormal hormone levels, both chronic and acute, are generally estimated to be approximately 5‐22 percent for thyroid hormones, 15‐33 percent for growth hormone (GH), and 25‐80 percent for testosterone. The effect of hypopituitarism has been reported on several aspects cognitive and physical function as well as overall quality of life. In these studies, GH and testosterone deficiencies appear to underlie the observed impairments. Originality/value – The paper suggests the importance of understanding and screening for hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction as hormone replacement therapy may be a beneficial intervention to promote physical and cognitive rehabilitation.
Social Care and Neurodisability – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 9, 2013
Keywords: Rehabilitation; Functional independence measure (FIM); Growth hormone; Hypogonadism; Hypopituitarism; IGF‐1
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