In a landmark study, published this spring in Lancet Psychiatry, researchers have established a definitive link between traumatic brain injury and a higher risk of developing both Alzheimer's disease and dementia. According to researchers, this is the first study on the subject which offers a sufficient sample size, as well as sufficient follow up time. This has allowed the experts to more accurately assess the effects of traumatic brain injury. This study spanned almost 20 years and reviewed the data on over 2 million people living in Denmark between 1995 and 2013. The study results may surprise you.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head is subject to a blow. It can result in a mild injury, which affects the brain cells temporarily. Alternatively, it can result in long-term complications and even death. Symptoms of mild TBI include the following.
- State of confusion or disorientation
- Loss of consciousness for a short time
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Sleeping more than is typical
- Loss of balance or dizziness
Symptoms of a severe TBI include the following.
- Loss of consciousness for a long period of time
- Persistent headache
- Repeated vomiting
- Dilatation of the pupils
- Inability to sleep
- Coordination loss.
Traumatic brain injuries can occur in car crashes, when something falls on someone, or when someone trips or slips and falls.
Even a Single Injury Can Lead to Dementia
Contrary to common belief, this study has established that even a single, mild traumatic brain injury is linked to an increase in the risk of dementia. In fact, a single, mild TBI, such as a concussion, increases one's risk of dementia by 17 percent. A severe TBI, on the other hand, increased one's risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia by 35 percent.
Repeated Injuries Increases Risk
Also alarming, the study established the risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia increased as the number of TBIs experienced increased. For those who suffered two or more brain injuries during their lifetime, their odds of dementia increased by 33 percent. For those who sustained four or more TBIs, their risk of dementia increased by 61 percent. Perhaps most alarming, people who sustained five or more TBIs in their lifetime have a 183 percent increased chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Living with Dementia
Dementia impacts one's memory, thinking skills, behavior, and mood. While the some of the symptoms of dementia can be treated, there is no cure. Treatment requires a multi-discipline approach, including mental health professionals, physicians, therapists, and coaches.
Have You Been Injured?
If you have suffered a TBI, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This includes both past and future medical bills. At Frost & Kavanaugh, we represent people who suffer from TBIs. We understand that a TBI impacts the entire family. Our attorneys fight to get every penny possible for our clients. Contact us today to see if we can help you and your family at 518-283-3000.