Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 800.239.2901

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
In the ICU, Patients' Relatives Often Mum About Care ConcernsObesity Adds to Burden of Traumatic Brain InjuryWarming Climate, More AC -- and More Unhealthy Smog AheadIs That iPad a Pain in the Neck?Severe Stress May Send Immune System Into OverdriveMarriage Is Good Medicine for the HeartHealth Tip: Breathe Easier in a Volcano ZoneTips for Handling a Medical EmergencyThe ER or Urgent Care?Small World? Not With One-Quarter Obese by 2045Health Concerns Rise Along With Hawaii EruptionsIs Testing for Zika in U.S. Blood Supply Worth the Cost?PTSD May Raise Odds for Irregular HeartbeatEven Mild Concussion Tied to Greater Dementia Risk LaterCBD Oil: All the Rage, But Is It Really Safe and Effective?A Doctor's Age May Matter With Emergency SurgeryStudy Finds 31 Percent Use No Opioids After SurgeryMild TBI May Increase Risk of Parkinson's DiseaseZika Infection After Birth May Require Long-Term Follow-UpUnchecked Air Pollution a Death Sentence for Millions: StudyHearing Loss Might Leave You Accident-ProneTai Chi Beats Aerobics for Fibromyalgia PainMillions Get Wrong Treatment for Back Pain: StudyTonsillectomy May Carry More Risks in Kids Age 3 and UnderManaging Pain With Fewer Opioids After Joint ReplacementGenetic Heart Defects Rarely the Cause of SIDS, Research ShowsHealth Tip: Recognize Symptoms of Traumatic Brain InjuryStem Cell Clinics Pitch Pricey, Bogus 'Cures' for Knee PainOptimism Might Help You Handle AnginaHealth Tip: Understanding Palliative CareHerbal Drug Kratom Linked to Salmonella Illnesses, CDC SaysUnsafe Water Found in Faucets Across the U.S.Another Downside to Opioid Use: Pneumonia?A Hidden Source of 'Superbugs' in Hospitals?Babies With Normal Head Size Might Still Have Zika-Linked Brain DamageZika Tied to Rise in U.S. Birth Defects: CDCIs Obesity 'Contagious'?Carbon Monoxide Hazards Rise in Wintry WeatherConcussion May Not Be Needed to Bring on CTE Brain DiseaseIs Obesity Slowing Gains in U.S. Life Spans?Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire Helps to Evaluate Migraine PainFor Poorer Americans, Stress Brings Worse HealthBeware Carbon Monoxide Dangers When Cold Weather StrikesClean Air Act May Be Saving More Lives Than ThoughtHealth Tip: Stay WellAsthma Worse for Overweight Preschoolers: StudyObesity Tied to Greater Asthma Impairment in PreschoolersState Rules Affect Survival of Immigrants With Kidney FailureDecline in Antibiotic Use in Livestock Isn't Enough, Critics SayZika Babies Facing Increasing Health Problems With Age
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Cancer
Men's Health
Women's Health

Even Mild Concussion Tied to Greater Dementia Risk Later

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 7th 2018

new article illustration

MONDAY, May 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Concussions, even those that are mild, more than double the risk for developing dementia down the road, new research suggests.

The findings stem from an analysis that tracked concussions and dementia risk among nearly 360,000 military veterans.

Study author Deborah Barnes noted that many of the younger vets in the study had experienced concussions while in combat, often in Iraq and Afghanistan. Head blows among older vets were often due to falls or car accidents.

"Results were similar in the two groups," she said, "so we don't think there is anything special about these head injuries." That makes it more likely that the dementia risk seen among military personnel would also apply to the general population.

Barnes is a professor in the departments of psychiatry and epidemiology & biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco's Weill Institute for Neurosciences. She is also a research health sciences specialist with the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Roughly 179,000 of the study participants had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) between 2001 and 2014. Just over half the group (54 percent) had specifically experienced a concussion.

Over an average tracking period of roughly four years, dementia risk among the TBI group was stacked up against that of an equal number of vets who had not experienced a TBI. On average, participants were nearly 50 years of age at the study's launch. About 9 percent were women, and nearly three-quarters were white.

In the end, the team found that less than 3 percent of the non-TBI group went on to develop dementia, compared with just over 6 percent of the TBI group.

Digging deeper, the investigators found that those who had never lost consciousness at the time of their head injury still faced a 2.4 times greater long-term risk for dementia. That figure rose to 2.5 among those who had lost consciousness. And among those who had experienced a moderate-to-severe TBI injury, dementia risk rose nearly fourfold.

"However, it is important to remember that not everyone who experiences a head injury will develop dementia," Barnes stressed. Although risk was significantly higher among TBI patients, the absolute risk still remained relatively low, she said.

Additionally, the study did not prove that head injuries caused dementia and "head injury is [just] one of many risk factors for dementia," Barnes noted.

"Even if you have had a concussion, you might be able to reduce your risk through other activities, such as engaging in physical, mental and social activity, and eating a brain-healthy diet," she suggested.

The report was published online May 7 in JAMA Neurology.

Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia is director of the traumatic brain injury clinical research initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He said the findings confirm previous suspicions "with a greater degree of certainty than was previously possible."

Even mild traumatic brain injuries "are not always trivial," he noted. "The evolving literature certainly suggests otherwise. And the mechanical energy impact on the head and the brain is the same whether it comes from a car accident or fall, or potentially a blast injury incurred in combat," so the findings would apply to the military and the public alike.

"Head injuries are also very common in the general civilian population," added Diaz-Arrastia, who co-authored an accompanying editorial. "Something like 25 to 30 percent of the general population has had a concussion at some point in their life, although that number goes even higher among military personnel."

As for how best to handle a head injury when it occurs, he advised taking quick precautionary action.

"I think someone who has experienced a blow to the head to the point where they either lose consciousness or experience confusion, amnesia, disorientation or headache, or anything like that, should of course go to an emergency room," said Diaz-Arrastia.

"Most of the time, nothing will need to be done. But a small fraction of the time even a seemingly mild injury can evolve into a bigger deal," he advised.

More information

There's more on traumatic brain injury at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.