Large Study Confirms Link Between Brain Injuries and Dementia Risk
The risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is significantly higher in people with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) than in people without a history of head injury, according to a large study involving 2.8 million people in Denmark. Results of the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, were recently published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
After accounting for other known risk factors, the researchers determined that overall risk for dementia is 24 percent higher in people with a history of traumatic brain injury. A single “severe” head injury increases dementia risk by 35 percent and a single “mild” injury or concussion increases dementia risk by 17 percent. Two or three traumatic brain injuries increase dementia risk by 33 percent, four TBIs increase the risk by 61 percent, and five or more increase the risk for developing dementia by an astonishing 183 percent.
According to Jesse Fann, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine and lead author of the study, traumatic brain injury in your 20s increases the risk of developing dementia in your 50s by 60 percent.