People who have had concussions, especially if there is a momentary loss of consciousness, seem more likely to have plaque buildup in their brains. This marker for Alzheimer’s disease was more pronounced among older people who had experienced head trauma and were having difficulties with memory.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recruited nearly 600 senior citizens over the age of 70. Three fourths had no memory or thinking problems. Among those who were having mild cognitive impairment, a history of concussion was associated with more beta-amyloid plaque visible on brain scans.
Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, an expert on Alzheimer’s disease and professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical School, discussed the risk factors for Alzheimer’s with us. He covered brain injuries as well as infections and medications. He also described an anti-Alzheimer’s diet full of compounds from coconut, curry, red wine and chocolate.