New research finds link between concussion and dementia
New research finds link between concussion and dementia
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By Pooja Baviskar
11 April, 2018, 15:58
A nationwide study of 2.8 million people over 36 years in Denmark has found that a person's risk of developing dementia increases with the number and severity of traumatic brain injuries.
Previous research on links between brain injury and dementia has produced conflicting results, said the study authors writing in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry.
The authors found that someone with one TBI had a risk of developing dementia after age 50 that was 22 per cent higher than someone with no diagnosed brain injury, this was 33 per cent higher with two TBIs or 200 per cent higher with five or more.
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.
While not every person who sustains a severe TBI will develop dementia, the findings might such people to change their behaviours toward potential risk factors for dementia, such as limiting alcohol and tobacco use, engaging in regular exercise, preventing obesity and treating hypertension, diabetes and depression, the researchers said.
'There are 850,000 people with dementia - this number is set to rise to 1 million by 2021 and more research is urgently needed to fill the gaps in our understanding of lifestyle factors that increase dementia risk'.
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The study, in Lancet Psychiatry, used Danish health databases that included all residents as of January 1, 1995, who were at least 50 years old at some time during the 36-year follow-up, from 1977 to 2013.
There are about 10 million new dementia cases each year.
SUFFERING concussion just once in a lifetime has been linked to an increased risk of both dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists know that a blow to the head can damage brain cells, but they don't know exactly how that might lead to later cognitive problems, said lead researcher Dr. Jesse Fann of University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The leading causes include falls, motor vehicle accidents and assaults. Among first TBI diagnoses, 85 percent had been characterized as mild and 15 percent had been characterized as severe or skull fracture.
The study also compared people with traumatic brain injuries to people with other types of traumatic injuries, like broken bones other than the skull or spine. About 95 percent of people who suffered a brain injury never developed dementia.
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