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Traumatic Brain Injury Puts Veterans at Increased Risk of Dementia as They Age

Veterans Affairs investigators have found a link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the risk of dementia. The study included nearly 190,000 veterans over the course of approximately seven years.

The veterans, average age 68, did not have any signs of dementia at the outset. About 1200 of them had suffered traumatic brain injury in the past. During the study 16 percent of those with a history of TBI developed dementia, compared to 10 percent of those who had not experienced such an injury. Those with a TBI diagnosis developed dementia two years earlier than their uninjured peers.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, common among those with traumatic brain injury, also contributed to the risk of dementia.

[Neurology, online June 25, 2014]

In The People’s Pharmacy perspective, traumatic brain injury is serious and calls for prompt and competent medical attention. This research points out, however, that not all the consequences are seen immediately. Late effects of TBI such as dementia could be devastating. We hope that more research will show what treatments or lifestyle measures can help protect veterans or civilians who have suffered a brain injury from developing dementia later on.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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