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January 16, 2002 - Head Injury May Lead to Depression

Researchers at Duke University believe they have discovered a direct correlation between head injuries early in life and the onset of depression years later. The study, published in this month's issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, examined 1,718 World War II veterans who were hospitalized for head injuries. Over eighteen percent of those studied now suffer from major depression.

Researchers say the results could have serious implications for athletes, such as football and hockey players, who suffer head injuries on a regular basis. In their report, doctors linked depression to frontal region tears in the brain. Researchers also note that violent trauma to the head causes the brain to release interleukin 6, an immuune system protein which is known to cause depression.

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