The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injuries and Dementia
The New York Times recently published an article detailing a new study which examined people suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and found an increased likelihood in developing dementia. The risk of developing dementia was highest in those who had suffered multiple TBIs, but even those who suffered from a single mild TBI were still at an increased risk of dementia.
This is alarming, but unfortunately not terribly surprising in my opinion. People have long asked if there is a link between dementia and traumatic brain injuries, but so far there hasn’t been enough research to prove a strong causal link. However, more recent studies have started examining this link and the results seem fairly telling.
The study, held by Lancet Psychiatry, examined data from Danish citizens recorded in national registries across 1977 to 2013. Of the 2.7 million people that were recorded, the study found that approximately 132,000 had suffered from a TBI at some point in their lives. The study then adjusted for a medical, neurological, and psychiatric illnesses, and compared the data for people who had suffered from a TBI against those who had not.
What the study found was that, compared to those who had never suffered from a TBI, a person who had a TBI was at an approximate 24 percent increased risk of dementia. Those who had suffered from five or more TBIs had nearly triple the risk of developing dementia. Even a person who had a single mild TBI had a 17 percent increased risk of dementia.
This study is only the beginning. There is much more that needs to be studied and examined as it relates to traumatic brain injuries and links to developing dementia.