Study links concussions and Alzheimer's

The effects of concussions have been a hot topic the past few years, particularly regarding sports injuries. Now, a new study correlates concussions with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting concussions may trigger a buildup of plaque in the brain that may lead to an increase in developing the condition.

The study, performed by researchers from Mayo Clinic and published in Neurology, scanned the brains of 589 participants in Minnestoa over the age of 70.  Of those participants, 448 showed no memory problems and 141 exhibited mild memory and thinking impairment.

Participants gave their concussion history to the researchers: 17 percent of those with no memory issues reported having a brain injury, whereas 18 percent of those with memory problems reported experiencing a concussion or head trauma.

Researchers found that people with memory problems who had a previous concussion or head trauma showed amyloid plaque levels that were on average 18 percent higher than participants who reported no previous head trauma.

On the other hand, no differences were found among individuals in the group with intact memory, even if they had a history of concussion.

The researchers noted that while the study may link concussions to Alzheimer’s, this possible relationship is complicated and requires further research.

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