I am not a medical researcher, medical professional, or statistician. I spent more than an hour searching for the journal article mentioned in the news report, but I could not find the article. I also searched for supporting evidence, but I could not find that either. As a result, I have not read the journal article or any evidence that supports the reported findings. I am not suggesting the news article is inaccurate or the findings are wrong, I am simply saying I have some doubts, and I could not find enough information to address my questions.
Although it is possible there is a statistically significant correlation between prior education and recovery speed after a brain injury, I suspect the conclusion is incorrect. My guess is students who do well in school are the same people who have the determination, commitment, flexibility, acceptance, imagination, attitude, habits, and study skills necessary to recover more quickly than people who did not do well in school. In other words, prior education is not the cause of speedy recovery, but factors associated with good students might influence the speed of recovery.
For example, a student who does not have the determination to attend college may not have the determination to do those things necessary (sleep, eat, exercise, actively participate in therapy, etc.) to recover as quickly as possible. Furthermore, the study could be skewed because people with a lower education had less desire to participate in the study even though they may have recovered much more quickly than those who had higher education.
There could be many factors that directly influence the speed with which someone recovers from brain injury. I’m not convinced prior education is one of the factors.
Click here to see and hear video.
Thanks to Wendy for sharing the video with me; Dr. Gabriel Zada of the Keck Medical Center at USC for discussing the study; Journal of the American Academy of Neurology for publishing the study; ABC News for reporting the story; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture, video, and text I used in this post.