Dementia is a serious condition to treat that is incurable. While there are many potential reasons why people develop Alzheimer's or other types of dementia as they age, one potential risk factor is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Research has repeatedly demonstrated that there is a potential link between suffering traumatic brain injury and subsequently developing dementia. In fact, the Alzheimer's Association website warns that suffering injury to the head can make a person more susceptible to developing dementia later in life.
TBIs are among the most serious injuries that a person can suffer, both due to the immediate health impact and as a result of the lasting consequences like the increased risk of dementia. A person who sustains a traumatic brain injury needs to determine responsible parties and associated liabilities, so that a damage claim can help pay for medical treatment and other necessities. A personal injury lawyer can help.
Traumatic Brain Injury and the Risk of Dementia
The risks of dementia in victims of traumatic brain injury is not yet fully understood. However, there is a growing body of research aimed at understanding how a TBI can affect the brain over the long-term.
Recently, Health Day published one large-scale study. Researchers evaluated a group of 190,000 veterans who had an average age of 68. When the veterans were selected, all were free of dementia, and 1,229 had been diagnosed with a brain injury.
The health of the veterans was monitored over a nine-year period. After nine years, 10 percent of the veterans who had not been diagnosed with a brain injury developed dementia. The veterans who had no history of prior brain injury developed dementia at an average age of 81.
By contrast, 16 percent of the veterans who had a prior diagnosed brain injury developed dementia. Among this group, the average age at the time that the dementia set in was 78.5 years. Those who also had another health problem such as depression, cerebrovascular disease or post-traumatic stress disorder were at the greatest risk.
This data suggests that there is a potential link between brain injury and dementia, although it does not yet conclusively prove causation. It not only suggests an association between TBI and an increased risk of dementia, but it also raises concerns that people with a TBI will get dementia at a younger age.
There are multiple theories that have been put forth to potentially explain why a person with a TBI is more likely to be diagnosed with dementia as he gets older. One possibility is that injury to the brain leads to a buildup of two proteins linked with Alzheimer's: amyloid and tau. Another theory is that blows to the brain simply result in the brain becoming less able to recover from trauma or problems.
Regardless of the specific reasons why, this research study is yet another to raise concerns about dementia and TBIs. Victims of brain injuries need to know about the long-term lingering health effects that head trauma can cause and should ensure they are fairly compensated when damage to the brain occurs.
Boston accident victims may contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.