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Ohio Study Finds Domestic Violence Linked To Undiagnosed Brain Injuries

 A brain-scanning MRI machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Keith Srakocic
Associated Press
A brain-scanning MRI machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

A study from the Ohio State University and the Ohio Domestic Violence Network has found domestic violence survivors frequently experience head injuries that lead to ongoing health issues.

The research, published this spring in theJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, found that 81% of domestic violence survivors have suffered a head injury.

Lead author Julianna Nemeth says that the possibility of brain injury has not been routinely included in domestic violence training, and that's a problem. 

“We really need to be ruling out brain injury, not ruling it in for survivors,” Nemeth said. “It needs to be one of the issues that everyone who is interacting with a domestic violence survivor needs to consider.”

Additionally, Nemeth says the study reveals a need for more research on the prevalence of brain injuries and their impacts, especially for survivors who have experienced both head injury and oxygen deprivation.

“We just have never been really recognizing the importance of understanding how that kind of exposure can lead to injuries of the brain that have repercussions for years to come for survivors,” Nemeth said.

This is the first study to establish that the majority of survivors experienced both head injuries and oxygen deprivation. It found 83% of victims had experienced strangulation.