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The Link Between TBI and Dementia

Tuesday, April 24, 2018By Richard Alexander

An article out of The New York Times reported on the recently discovered association between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and an increased risk of dementia. The Lancet Psychiatry study looked at Danish health databases to assess dementia risk and the link with TBIs. According to the research, the dementia risk is highest for people who have suffered more than one TBI. Equally important to note, even a single mild TBI can be linked with an increased risk of developing dementia.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Dementia

The research shows that when compared with people who never suffered a TBI, those that had any TBIs were at a 24 percent increased risk for dementia. People who had five or more traumatic brain injuries had nearly triple the risk for developing dementia. According to the data, even one mild TBI could increase the risk of dementia by 17 percent. It’s important to understand that the severity of TBIs can vary widely, and research in the field is still ongoing.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Need to Know

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 2.5 million TBIs occurred either as isolated injuries or along with other injuries in the U.S. A TBI is usually caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head. Sometimes, a penetrating head injury is involved. In some cases, a jolting force within the skull is enough to cause a TBI. TBIs can range in severity from mild to severe, and can even cause death.

Recognizing and Diagnosing TBI

Although new research is frequently emerging, there is still so much to learn about the diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) research in NFL athletes is bringing the danger of concussions to light. We know that countless TBIs happen in car accidents each year, and many mild TBIs go undiagnosed. Parents of child athletes or anybody who has been in a car accident or suffered any injury needs to be acutely vigilant about the possibility of traumatic brain injuries and concussions.

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