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brain injury dementia risk

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.

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