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Non-fatal head injury among Scottish young people: the importance of assault
  1. Helen MacCalluma,
  2. Anita Morrisonb,
  3. David H Stoneb,
  4. Keith Murrayc
  1. aDepartment of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, bPaediatric Epidemiology and Community Health (PEACH) Unit, Department of Child Health, University of Glasgow, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, cDepartment of Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow
  1. Dr D Stone, Paediatric Epidemiology and Community Health (PEACH) Unit, Department of Child Health, University of Glasgow, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 8JS

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Head injury is a major cause of death and severe disability.1 2 In the UK, mortality attributable to head injury was estimated at 7/100 000 in 1994, with most estimates of age specific hospital admission rates attributable to head injury ranging between 200–300/100 000.2 Children and young people seem to be at greatest relative risk. A peak in the age specific incidence of fatal or hospitalised head injury rates is observed in young adulthood (15–30 years) and a peak in accident and emergency presentations attributable to head injury is observed in children under 10 years.3

Motor vehicle occupant injuries, pedestrian and cyclist injuries, falls and assaults are frequently cited as the major causes of head injury. However, the proportion of head injuries caused by these specific injury causes varies markedly between countries.1 The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of head injury hospitalisation attributable to assault and other injury mechanisms in young Scottish adults aged 15–34 years, with specific emphasis on gender and socioeconomic differentials.

Method

National routine data on non-fatal hospital discharges with a main diagnosis of head injury were obtained in an anonymised form for Scottish residents aged 15–34 …

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