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Published on Jul 21, 2011 by Edgar Snyder

Brain Injuries May Increase Risk of Dementia

brain injury

University of California-San Francisco researchers conducted a study on older war veterans and found that those who suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) were at much higher risk of developing dementia than those who didn't.

Approximately 1.7 million people experience a TBI every year. The main causes include falls and car accidents, but many others exist – like combat-related injuries and injuries from explosions.

The scientists, who presented the findings at the Alzheimer's Association's annual International Conference in Paris, reviewed medical records of nearly 300,000 veterans ages 55 and older. About 2 percent had suffered a TBI, such as a concussion, post-concussion syndrome, a skull fracture, or other types of head injuries. The findings suggest a 15 percent risk of dementia for those with a previous TBI, as opposed to 7 percent for those who never suffered one.

This is not the first study that has shown TBI patients at higher risk for dementia. Research has shown that many retired professional football players and boxers suffer from mild cognitive impairment, or "pre-Alzheimer's," due to the high number of hits to the head they experienced in their careers. Scientists say more research is needed to learn whether early treatment and rehabilitation can help reduce that risk.

For more information on brain injuries, please visit EdgarSnyder.com.

"Traumatic Brain Injury Doubles Risk of Later Dementia." USA Today. July 18, 2011.
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