A brain injury more than doubles the risk of dementia, according to new research.
A large study of older war veterans suggests those who experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) during their lives had more than two times the risk of developing dementia, according to scientists from the University of California-San Francisco. The researchers presented their findings today at the Alzheimer's Association's annual International Conference in Paris.
"We're now getting a much better understanding that head injury is an important risk factor for developing dementia down the road," says lead researcher Kristine Yaffe, director of the Memory Disorders Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
Yaffe and colleagues looked at medical records of nearly 300,000 veterans, all 55 or older. None had dementia at the study's start. About 2% had had a TBI. All had at least one inpatient or outpatient visit between 1997 and 2000 and a follow-up sometime between 2001 and 2007.
A diagnosis of a concussion, post-concussion syndrome, a skull fracture or some non-specific head injuries are considered TBIs, she says.
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