Study finds dementia risk increased with brain injury

Concussion in 20s could increase the risk of dementia by 60 per cent, Lancet study finds

The results showed that fewer than 5 percent of people who suffered a traumatic brain injury developed dementia, but that the risk of dementia is highest in the first six months after a severe brain injury and increases along with the number of events.

A link between brain injury and dementia has been confirmed by a study of nearly three million people.

The researchers reviewed the history of approximately 2.8 million cases in Denmark and found that the overall risk of dementia for those with a history of dementia was 24 percent higher than those without a history of brain injuries, after accounting for other risk factors for the disease. It was increased almost three-fold for people who suffered more than four TBIs.

Lead author Jesse Fann, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, stated: "What surprised us was that even a single mild TBI was associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia".

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"There was a clear pattern between the number of brain injuries a person has and their risk of dementia as well as the severity of the brain injury and their subsequent risk of dementia", he said. Causes include road traffic accidents, falls, sporting accidents and assaults.

Researchers obtained their TBI data from the Danish National Patient Register, while information on dementia involved a combination of data from the National Patient Register, the Danish Psychiatric Central Register and the Danish National Prescription Registry. It found that people with a TBI in their 20s were about 63 per cent more likely to develop dementia 30 years later than people who didn't get a TBI in their 20s.

Making major decisions about brain injured patients relies on quick assessments and the new method gives us rapid insights into the patient's condition.

Researchers found the "fully adjusted risk of all-cause dementia in people with a history of TBI was higher than in those without a history of TBI, as was the specific risk of Alzheimer's disease".

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The researchers noted that while previous research has suggested a link between TBI, including concussion, and subsequent dementia, earlier studies have been limited in size and details, and have had short follow-up periods.

Between 1999 and 2013, 4.5 per cent of the study population aged 50 and older were diagnosed with dementia. Among first TBI diagnoses, 85 percent had been characterized as mild and 15 percent had been characterized as severe or skull fracture.

The idea that blows to the head suffered by boxers and footballers may increase the risk of dementia is a hotly debated issue. As a outcome of those injuries, the CDC said 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive, 50,000 die and 80,000 to 90,000 experience the onset of long-term disability.

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