TBI Associated With Increased Risk of Subsequent Dementia

12 April, 2018, 00:37 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Computer artwork of a brain in side view with the brain's neural network represented by lines and flashes

After one of the largest ever investigations into the link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cognitive decline in later life, Danish and U.S. researchers concluded that the younger a person was when sustaining a head injury, the higher the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. "And the relationship between the number of traumatic brain injuries and risk of dementia was very clear.similarly, a single severe brain injury seems to have twice the risk associated with dementia as a single mild traumatic brain injury".

The study found that 5.3 percent of people with dementia had suffered at least one TBI.

A single severe traumatic brain injury raised the chances of developing dementia by more than a third.

The study is based on analyzing 36 years of medical records for almost 2.8 million people in Denmark over age 50, looking at their histories of brain injuries, dementia and other medical conditions.

But a single severe brain injury increased the risk of later dementia by 35 percent compared with a person who never had brain trauma.

Even a relatively minor knock on the head resulting in concussion led to a 17 per cent risk increase, researchers found.

Measuring pupil reactivity to light could assist with treatment decisions for brain injuries, they say. "Making major decisions about brain injured patients rely on quick assessments and the new method gives us rapid insights into the patient's condition".




Each year, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer a traumatic brain injury, which occurs when a bump or blow to the head disrupts normal brain function.

Previous studies have been conflicting, because of small sample sizes and short follow-up periods.

Over 36 years, 132,093 individuals (4.7%) had at least one TBI diagnosis, most (85%) were mild in severity. And he clarified that the findings do not suggest that every person who sustains a severe TBI will develop dementia later in life.

A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a fall, a traffic accident, a sports accident or a violent attack.

Those who sustained a TBI in their 30s were 37% more likely to develop dementia 30 years later compared to those who did not. Those affected should avoid certain behaviors, researchers suggest.

The new study took account of other influences on dementia risk including diabetes, heart disease, depression and substance abuse. TBI correlated with elevated dementia risk compared to individuals with a non-TBI fracture not involving the skull or spine (hazard ratio, 1.29). "The association of TBI with different causes and how these change across time needs policy attention, as it is likely that prevention needs to be considered at societal, community, and local levels".

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