Alzheimer’s Researchers Find “Compelling” Evidence that Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Increase the Risk of Dementia as much as Diabetes, Hypertension and Obesity
In a peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2020;78(2):757-775. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200662, Canadian researcher found that a history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) almost doubled the risk of being diagnosed with dementia and that mTBI was the strongest environmental risk factor for dementia, comparable to health risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
The results are based on 21 peer-reviewed studies published between 2000 and 2020. The article also reports that studies consistently show subtle changes in cognition in some mTBI patients and that this occurs with greater frequency in patients with repeated injuries. These changes, they report, are consistent with imaging studies following mTBI showing white matter abnormalities, including changes in white matter volume, particularly in the medial temporal and frontal region.
This review and meta-analysis provides some of the strongest evidence supporting the range of potential long-term consequences of an injury that was considered in the past to be relatively benign.