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A Brain Injury May Increase the Risk for Dementia

The near-term effects of brain injuries have been intensively studied. But there can be lifelong effects as well. For example, a new study shows that victims of severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) may face a dramatically higher risk for dementia than people who suffer less severe brain injuries. Age appears to be a factor too. The study showed that people aged 41-50 who suffered a TBI had a sharply higher risk for dementia than those who suffered a TBI at a younger age.

Key Conclusions of the Study

The lead author of the study is Dr. Rahul Raj, an associate professor of experimental neurosurgery at Helsinki University Hospital. His team looked at all persons between the ages of 18 and 65 years hospitalized in Finland during 1987-2014 due to TBI who did not have a baseline neurodegenerative disease diagnosis. They identified 19,936 people aged 18-65 who suffered moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury and 20,703 persons (18-65 years) with a history of mild traumatic brain injury.

These are the most significant conclusions of the study:

  • People who suffered moderate-to-severe TBI face an increased risk for future dementia but not for Parkinson's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig disease).
  • The moderate-to-severe group had a 90% increased probability of developing dementia compared to persons with mild traumatic brain injury.
  • Among those aged 41-50 at the time of injury, people suffering a moderate-to-severe brain injury were nearly three times as likely to develop dementia as those who suffered a mild brain injury.
  • People who suffered a moderate-to-severe brain injury between the ages of 51 and 60 were twice as likely to develop dementia as those who suffered a mild brain injury.
  • People in the moderate-to-severe group were much more likely than those in the mild group to suffer dementia before the age of 65.

The point needs to be made that the study does not establish a direct causal link between TBI and dementia, but there does appear to be an association between the two.

What is clear is that when you are seeking compensation for a brain injury, all current and future effects must be taken into account. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney, assisted by medical experts, will carefully examine these effects for inclusion in the demand claim. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

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