Even decades after an injury, the risk of dementia remains high. Those affected should avoid certain behaviors, researchers suggest.
Traumatic brain injury caused by an accident or a blow to the head increases the risk of dementia according to a recently published study. The risk increases by 24 percent, the researchers write in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, and is relative to the number and severity of brain injuries.
For their study, the researchers evaluated data from the Danish patient registry of nearly three million people. Their study covers a period of 36 years. “People who have suffered traumatic brain injury (…) are at an increased risk of developing dementia , even decades after the injury,” explains study leader Jesse Fann of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. This also applies to minor injuries such as a concussion.
The researchers note that the absolute risk remains low, but one must remain especially mindful nevertheless. In the study, 5.3 percent of dementia patients had a brain injury in the past. Of the people without dementia, 4.7 percent had suffered a brain injury.
Anyone who has ever had a craniocerebral trauma still has to take special care, Fann warns. It is important to avoid other behaviors that may promote dementia, such as smoking or increased alcohol consumption. Above all, those affected should try to avoid further traumatic brain injury.
A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a fall, a traffic accident, a sports accident or a violent attack. According to UN data, around 50 million people around the world suffer from dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Each year, there are ten million new patients.