Alzheimer's linked to traumatic brain injury

There is a great deal of evidence showing long-term results of traumatic brain injuries. The list of serious consequences seems to keep growing. A recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that those who suffer brain trauma may be more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the future. By the year 2050, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expects that 14 million people will be living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s begins with mild memory loss and can eventually prevent people from living normal lives.

Past research has shown a link between a brain injury and an increased risk of dementia later on. However, the current research may show why this increase exists.

Researchers looked at data from 28 patients, including nine people with TBIs, nine healthy patients and 10 people with Alzheimer’s. All participants underwent a brain scan that allowed scientists to view one main characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid plaques.

The results showed that those who suffered brain trauma had more amyloid plaques than those who were healthy. But, they had fewer than those who had Alzheimer’s.

Researchers also looked at how injuries to the head impacted the central nervous system. The white matter found in brain tissue is what allows cells to communicate with each other.

The study showed that if the brain’s wiring is damaged, amyloid plaques form in the posterior cingulate cortex, which in turn impacts the amount of white matter damage. The research shows that treatment for a brain injury can be administered for months and years after the injury occurs. This treatment may help those suffering with a TBI avoid life-long health issues.

Source: Medical Daily, “Traumatic Brain Injury May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease; Patients Have Similar ‘Brain Clumps’,” Jaleesa Baulkman, Feb. 8, 2016