An MSNBC report this week claims that multiple studies have come out this month showing a link between head injuries and traumatic brain injury to a higher risk of dementia. The report also states that studies within both veterans and former football players have shown an increase in dementia risk.
One study reportedly showed that veterans who were diagnosed with a brain injury are more than twice as likely to get dementia as those who had no prior brain injuries. This news was announced at the Alzheimer’s Association’ International Conference.
The other study in question was focused on retired football players in comparison to the general population. Nearly 35 percent of former NFL players were reported to have signs of dementia, compared to only 13 percent of the general population.
The football study was based off an earlier research program that included around 4,000 NFL players in 2001. This survey was updated in 2008 when research collected information from over 900 players who had since retired and turned 50 years old. In the updated survey in 2008, nearly 35 percent were reported to have cognitive issues.
MSNBC reported that the veteran study was based off the medical records of nearly 300,000 soldiers who received care In VA hospitals from 1997 to 2000 and with one follow up visit in the years afterwards. At the beginning of the study, none of the profiled vets were said to have reported any signs of dementia.
Out of the 280,000 veterans studied, nearly 5,000 of them were diagnosed with some sort of traumatic brain injury. Following the study, this group’s risk of developing dementia totaled about 15 percent, which was nearly 9 percent higher than those without any types of brain injury.
These two studies continue to add to the mounting reports of head injuries, concussions and their severe long-term consequences. The report states that there has already been controversy surrounding a possible tie to Alzheimer’s risk as well.
The report states that the tie between Alzheimer’s and brain injury shouldn’t come as unexpected. Scientists have stated that with continuous hits to the head, the brain’s communication cables are stretched. When these cables, known as axons, are stretched, structure damage ensues. This structure damage has been known to lead to both dementia and Alzheimer’s cases.
Carroll, Linda. (July 18, 2011). “Brain-injured veterans twice as likely to get dementia.” Retrieved on July 19, 2011 from MSNBC