Traumatic brain injuries increase your risk of dementia later in life

Traumatic brain injuries increase your risk of dementia later in life

Their study covers a period of 36 years.

Even when controlling for other medical and psychiatric conditions associated with dementia, such as depression and hypertension, people with TBI were 1.24 times more likely to develop dementia than people without a brain injury.

"Severe TBI is particularly frequent in young people, and it is concerning that the risk of dementia is particular high in relatively young persons who suffer TBI", co-author Jakob Christensen, an associate professor of neurology at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said in a statement.

A single traumatic brain injury characterized as severe increases the risk by 35 percent, while a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion increased the risk by 17 percent.

Jesse R. Fann, M.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined the correlation between TBI and subsequent long-term dementia risk in a nationwide population-based observational cohort study.

"Our findings do not suggest that everyone who suffers a traumatic brain injury will go on to develop dementia later in life", Dr Fann said.

Danish and United States researchers looked at nearly 2.8 million people over a 36-year period - 1977 to 2013.

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Dementia affects 47 million people worldwide and the number of patients is expected to double in the next 20 years. For example, a person over 50 who suffered one TBI had a 22% increased risk of developing dementia, while someone who suffered four TBIs had a 61% increased risk. The mean age at first diagnosis of dementia was 80.7 years. For example, individuals having a TBI in their 20s were 63% more likely to develop dementia about 30 years later compared to those who didn't sustain a TBI in their 20s (overall dementia rate 0.55 per 1000 person years vs 0.34 per 1000 person-years); whereas individuals sustaining a TBI in their 30s were 37% more likely to develop dementia 30 years later compared with those without a TBI in their 30s (1.67 per 1000 person-years vs 1.22 per 1000 person-years; figure 2).

In the study, 5.3 percent of dementia patients had a brain injury in the past.

"TBI was associated with an increased risk of dementia both compared with people without a history of TBI and with people with non-TBI trauma", the authors write.

The specific risk of Alzheimer's disease was also higher in after a TBI event, according to the report.

In the first TBI diagnoses, 85 per cent had been characterised as mild and 15 per cent had been characterised as severe or skull fracture. This could include exercise and avoiding risk-boosting behaviour like smoking, or eating and drinking too much.

Fann said future research trying to narrow down why some people with brain injuries get dementia while other don't is important. As a effect 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.

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