Asterix and Obelix: Brain Trauma BuffsIn a groundbreaking new study, a team of (very serious) academics have determined that a total of 704 head injuries occur in the 34 Asterix and Obelix comic books.

That’s almost 21 per book!

The researchers ranked the severity of the injuries on the standard Glasgow coma scale, and found that a shocking 390 of them fit the criteria for “severe.” Fortunately, however, long-term deficits rarely resulted. “In general, all symptoms of traumatic brain injury usually improved within a few minutes or hours,” the researchers noted—with one notable exception in the case of an injury incurred by the druid Getafix.

The Gauls gave better than they got, experiencing just 120 brain injuries (17%) themselves, but causing 613 (87.1%) of all injuries—mostly to Roman soldiers.

Personally, I was surprised to find that only 6 of the victims were female. I recall quite a few women in the middle of the fighting, mostly village wives hitting people with fish from Unhygienix the fishmonger’s wares. But perhaps hitting someone with a fish doesn’t cause much damage.

While this study is on the humorous end of the research spectrum, traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the real world is no laughing matter. At Posit Science, we are working hard to find programs that offer real help to people with brain injuries. Many people have already found that brain-fitness training can be a significant help, like Ryan Reitmeyer. The Department of Defense is working to quantify those kinds of benefits. They have granted $2 million to run studies on Posit Science programs to measure their effects on veterans with brain injuries.  It is our sincere wish that in the future, people afflicted with brain trauma have the same outcome as those in Asterix and Obelix, with little long-term damage.