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Study Shows Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Dementia

Top causes of head trauma include sporting accidents; motor vehicle collisions; slip and falls; violence and combat injuries. Unfortunately, numerous studies have demonstrated that a brain injury can have lifelong consequences. When the head injury is caused by a negligent driver or other careless individual or company, the victims harmed should consult with a Janesville brain injury attorney. 

One recent study further confirms that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Victims need to be fully compensated for any head injuries they endure, and should take the long-term effects of brain injury into account when determining if a settlement offer is reasonable or if a brain injury claim should proceed to trial. 

The Link between TBI and Dementia

The new research on the link between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s was published on Health Day. The study was very large in scale, spanning a nine-year period of time. Research subjects included veterans and the researchers looked at case files from more than 190,000 veterans. 

The veterans involved in the study were an average of 68 years old at the time when the research initially began. None had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, nor were any of the veterans diagnosed with any other clinical signs of dementia. In the group of veterans studied, there were a total of 1,229 people who had been diagnosed with a brain injury. 

As researchers followed up over the course of the study, they discovered that 16 percent of veterans who had a brain injury diagnosis developed dementia over the nine year period. Among the veterans who had not suffered a TBI, just 10 percent developed dementia. This was considered to be a statistically significant difference in the number of patients who developed Alzheimer’s or related conditions. 

The researchers accounted for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, alcohol use and other factors when comparing TBI-sufferers with those with no history of a brain injury.  Veterans with dementia, cerebrovascular disease and depression along with brain injuries were at the greatest risk. 

Although the researchers found an association between TBI and Alzheimer’s, the study is considered to prove an association, but not necessarily to prove causation. However, the research also indicated that TBI sufferers tended to develop dementia at a younger age. 

The veterans who had no brain injury but who were diagnosed with dementia, the onset of the condition occurred at an average age of 81. For veterans with a brain injury who developed dementia, on the other hand, the onset of the condition occurred at an average age of 78.5.  

There are numerous theories that could explain why brain injury patients are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. One possibility, for example, is that a TBI can result in tau or amyloid build-up in the brain.

Regardless of the specific reason for the link, however, the growing body of research provides ample reason to be concerned about the lasting impact of brain injury. Victims who suffer a blow to the head due to negligence need to understand the long-term risks and should consult with Janesville brain injury lawyer Steve Caya at Noulan and Mouat, LLP for help understanding their legal options. 

 

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