I often am contacted by individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) and have later been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Many have asked me if their multiple sclerosis diagnosis was caused by their earlier trauma. Previously, most research I had read indicates that there is no causal relationship between MS and TBI.

However, I recently came across an interesting article published in January 2012 entitled “Increased Risk of Multiple Sclerosis after Traumatic Brain injury: A Nationwide Population-Based Study.” The researchers used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database where 72,765 individuals with traumatic brain injury were identified and included as the study cohort, and 218,295 random subjects were matched with the study cohort by sex and age as controls.

The researchers traced each individual patient for a 6-year period from their index health care utilization to identify those who received a subsequent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that patients with traumatic brain injury did have a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis during the 6-year period than the comparison group (0.055% v. 0.037%). The researchers concluded that patients with traumatic brain injury are in fact at a higher risk of multiple sclerosis over a 6-year follow up period.

If you or a loved one were injured and sustained a traumatic brain injury, or you have a traumatic brain injury and have subsequently developed multiple sclerosis, it is strongly recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.