Concussion in 20s could increase the risk of dementia by 60 per cent, Lancet study finds
12 April, 2018, 00:41
But it would be advisable for people who had suffered a severe knock to the head - whether in a fall, auto accident, through contact sport, or an assault - to take extra precautions.
However researchers in this study took account of other influences on dementia risk, like diabetes, heart disease, depression and substance abuse.
Even decades after an injury, the risk of dementia remains high. 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). The risk was increased almost three-fold for people who had suffered five or more TBIs.
Researchers, led by Jesse Fann, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UW School of Medicine, found people with any traumatic brain injury were 1.5 times more likely than their non-injured peers to develop dementia when controlling for demographic factors like age and gender.
The research may lend support to campaigns for better safety in sports including football, boxing and rugby.
In a separate project, Irish researchers are now looking to recruit 100 adults - without dementia or any form of significant cognitive difficulty - for a large scale study which hopes to identify early signs of dementia years before memory loss and confusion develop.
"It certainly adds to the evidence that TBI is associated with negative not just short term, but long-term, outcomes", Fann said. From 1999 to 2013, 4.5 percent of the patients over age 50 years developed dementia, of those, 5.3 percent had sustained at least one TBI during the observation period, which began in 1977.
According to Professor Fann, "Shedding light on risk factors for dementia is one of the most important tasks in health research".
Advanced, instant brain-injury detecting test could analyze patient consciousness along with effectively improved patient care by probing in to their central nervous system. He warns parents and children to be well-aware of risks of TBIs in contact sports.
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.
"Our analysis raises some very important issues, in particular that efforts to prevent traumatic brain injury, especially in younger people, may be inadequate considering the huge and growing burden of dementia and the prevalence of TBI worldwide", Fann said. This also applies to minor injuries such as a concussion.
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