Prevalence of traumatic brain injury in the general adult population: a meta-analysis

Neuroepidemiology. 2013;40(3):154-9. doi: 10.1159/000343275. Epub 2012 Dec 18.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant public-health concern. To understand the extent of TBI, it is important to assess the prevalence of TBI in the general population. However, the prevalence of TBI in the general population can be difficult to measure because of differing definitions of TBI, differing TBI severity levels, and underreporting of sport-related TBI. Additionally, prevalence reports vary from study to study. In this present study, we used meta-analytic methods to estimate the prevalence of TBI in the adult general population. Across 15 studies, all originating from developed countries, which included 25,134 adults, 12% had a history of TBI. Men had more than twice the odds of having had a TBI than did women, suggesting that male gender is a risk factor for TBI. The adverse behavioral, cognitive and psychiatric effects associated with TBI coupled with the high prevalence of TBI identified in this study indicate that TBI is a considerable public and personal-health problem.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors