Head injury boosts dementia risk

12 April, 2018, 07:07 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Concussion in 20s could increase the risk of dementia by 60 per cent, Lancet study finds

"What surprised us was that even a single mild TBI was associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia", added Jesse Fann, Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, US.

"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. The highest risk of dementia was seen in the first six months after TBI (hazard ratio, 4.06), and the risk also increased with an increasing number of TBI events (hazard ratios, 1.22 to 2.83 for one TBI to five or more TBIs). It does confirm earlier reports that people who have had brain injuries are at a slightly increased risk of developing the condition, but head injury is still a much smaller contributory factor for developing dementia than smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle - risk factors that are much easier for all of us to do something about.

According to United Nations data, around 50 million people around the world suffer from dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Previous research has suggested a link between TBI, including mild TBI (concussion) and subsequent dementia.

Among the almost 2.8 million people observed, 4.7 per cent had at least one TBI diagnosis.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland developed a new score using information collected with the GSC to determine the condition of a patient's central nervous system in serious trauma or intensive care.

Their study covers a period of 36 years.

But the team stressed the absolute risk to any individual remained low.

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According to the study authors, more than 50 million people every year experience a traumatic brain injury.

"This study provides compelling evidence of a link between TBI and dementia, that goes beyond typical studies focusing on professional athletes in contact sports (e.g., football), to include a broader representation of the general public".

"Importantly, a person who has sustained a TBI should do what they can to prevent further TBIs as the risk of dementia increases with the number of TBIs", Fann told AFP.

Between 1999 and 2013, 4.5 per cent of the study population aged 50 and older were diagnosed with dementia.

The association between TBI and dementia held true even when comparing people with a history of TBI to those with non-TBI fractures not involving the skull or spine.

Men with TBI histories developed dementia at a 30 percent rate, while women had just a 19 percent rate.

According to Professor Fann, "Shedding light on risk factors for dementia is one of the most important tasks in health research". 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. His family says it is linked to his playing days.

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