Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Have Double the Risk of Dementia
Published July 19, 2011
A new study indicates to California veteran benefits lawyers that the risk of developing dementia among war veterans who have suffered a brain injury, is substantially higher than feared. The study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, shows that these veterans’ risk of developing dementia increases by 100%. Researchers are pointing to the study as proof that a head injury is a very high risk factor for the development of dementia down the road.
Researchers looked at medical records of more than 281,000 veterans. The veterans were all aged 55 and above. At the beginning of the study, none of the veterans suffered from dementia. Two percent of the veterans had suffered a traumatic brain injury, like concussions, skull fractures and other kinds of head injuries.
Among those that suffered from a traumatic brain injury, the risk of dementia was 15%. However, among those that did not suffer from TBI, the risk of dementia was about 7%.
Currently, traumatic brain injuries account for about 59% of all combat-related injuries affecting veterans. That makes it a large number of veterans who are at a high risk of developing dementia in the future. There have been other studies that have shown a link between TBI and the development of dementia. Some studies have indicated that a traumatic brain injury can lead to an early onset of dementia. However, some other studies have shown no association between a TBI and a quicker onset of dementia.
Veterans’ benefits attorneys would like to see more research into these links. There is definitely a need for more targeted research into the benefits of early rehabilitation in preventing dementia in brain injury patients. Confirmation of a link between TBI and early dementia could help facilitate rehabilitation programs for veterans to help delay the onset of dementia.