A new report suggests a link between traumatic brain injuries and dementia. According to an article by US News and World Report, veterans who have experienced a traumatic brain injury are more likely to develop dementia later in life. The study findings additionally state that these former soldiers are 60 times more likely to develop dementia earlier in life than their counterparts who have never been diagnosed with any brain injury.
The study involved the examination of 190,000 veterans, who were all free of dementia. The average age of the participants was 68-years-old. According to the report, 1,299 of these vets had a traumatic brain injury diagnosis. The participants were followed over a nine year period. During that time, researchers found that 16% of the veterans with brain injuries developed dementia, while only 10% of those without a brain injury developed dementia. The findings all showed that the brain injury subjects developed dementia at an average age of 78.5, while dementia did not set in for the other subjects until the average age of 81-years-old.
While the study does suggest a strong association, it falls short of presenting a clear cause and effect. There were numerous other factors for consideration, including the possible presence of high blood pressure, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and diabetes.
Deborah Barnes, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, authored the study. The article quotes her as saying, “Our results suggest that [brain injury] may increase the risk of developing dementia in older veterans, with an age of onset about two years earlier. So clinicians may want to keep an eye out for signs of cognitive impairment in older veterans with a history of [brain injury].”
What is Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a term that encompasses an array of medical symptoms, including extreme memory loss and the inability to perform basic daily care responsibilities. There are numerous types of dementia conditions:
**Alzheimer’s Disease is reportedly the most common type of dementia, accounting for about 70 percent of the cases. Memory complications, along with extreme apathy and depression are early warning signs.
**Vascular Dementia is also known as post-stroke dementia because it often occurs after the patient experiences a stroke. An inability to make decisions is a major sign of the condition. It reportedly occurs due to blood vessel blockage in the brain.
**Parkinson’s Disease can lead to dementia as the condition progresses. Movement complications, along with sleep disturbances and visual hallucinations are all common symptoms.
**Huntington’s Disease is a progressive disorder, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. A single defective gene in the cause of the condition, which is characterized by involuntary muscle movements, irritability and a decrease in reasoning skills.
Brain injuries are serious matters with lasting physical, mental and financial effects for the injured party and the family. If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact Levin & Perconti at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.
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