Publicado: Jue, Abril 12, 2018
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

New Study Links Traumatic Brain Injuries with Increased Dementia Risk

New Study Links Traumatic Brain Injuries with Increased Dementia Risk

Abbreviating traumatic brain injury, the researchers found that, as compared with individuals who suffered a non-TBI fracture not involving the skull or spine, "TBI was associated with a higher risk of dementia".

"Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury, including those with less severe injuries have an increased risk of developing dementia, even decades after the injury", says Jesse Fann, Professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, USA, who led the study. Whereas two-three traumatic brain injuries is associated with a 33 percent increase in dementia, four traumatic brain injuries is associated with about a 60 percent increase of risk. Every year, more than 50 million people worldwide experience a TBI, which occurs when an external force disrupts the brain's normal function.

A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a fall, a traffic accident, a sports accident or a violent attack.

The study included 36 years of follow-up, as well as access to a uniform healthcare system that tracks the number and severity of TBIs.

But the study did not prove that TBIs cause dementia risk to rise, just that there's an association.

"However, it's important to emphasize that although the relative risk of dementia is increased after traumatic brain injury, the absolute risk increase is low", Fann noted in a journal news release. And they looked at other types of trauma, such as broken bones, and found that brain injuries were more closely tied to dementia. "Our findings do not suggest that everyone who suffers a traumatic brain injury will go on to develop dementia in later life".

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Dementia remained relatively rare: only 4.7 percent of study participants developed dementia at all, a total of 126,734 people. It is important to avoid other behaviors that may promote dementia, such as smoking or increased alcohol consumption.

Researchers found that age plays a factor: "the younger younger a person was when sustaining a TBI, the higher the HRs [hazard ratios] for dementia when stratified by time since TBI". The mean age at first diagnosis of dementia was 80.7 years.

There are about 10 million new dementia cases each year.

"There are some cognitive rehabilitation strategies that may decrease the cognitive deficits associated with a brain injury", Fann said.

Overall, the risk of dementia was slightly higher in men who had sustained a TBI compared to women.

There are nearly 350,000 hospital admissions due to brain damage in the United Kingdom per year, which comes to an average of one injury every 90 seconds.

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