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Traumatic Brain Injuries Seen as Number-One Risk Factor for Dementia

By Timothy Bussey on February 20, 2013

A study published in JAMA Neurology recently suggests that the number-one risk factor for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) – not the existence of amyloid plaques in the brain, once thought to be the defining factor of these diseases.

The study followed 61 men and women, ages 65 to 90, who had varying degrees of mental impairment and/or had been diagnosed with dementia. From time to time, the patients were given tests that tracked their memory, organization, and problem-solving skills. Their brains were also scanned using an MRI to check for vascular damage characteristic of TBI and a PET scanner to check for amyloid plaques in the brain.

At the end of the five-year study, researchers examined the data and discovered that patients with vascular damage from a TBI did consistently worse on the memory, organization, and problem-solving tests than patients who had amyloid plaques but no vascular damage. The researchers concluded that traumatic brain injury may play a much larger role in dementia and Alzheimer’s than was previously realized.

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may struggle with the aftereffects for months or even years. A severe TBI may permanently impair your ability to carry out daily life activities. For a free and confidential consultation about your legal rights after a brain injury, please don’t hesitate to call the skilled Colorado TBI victim attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Our number is (719) 475-2555, and your initial consultation is free and confidential.

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