. Researchers did not find an increased risk for people who had minor TBI, which was defined as a concussion with no more than a one-day hospital stay.
“Traumatic brain injury has been identified as a possible risk factor for dementia, and due to increasing numbers of people living with dementia, it is imperative to identify risk factors that might be modifiable to decrease the number of people who develop dementia in the future,” said study author Rahul Raj, the University of Helsinki in Finland.
For the study, researchers used a Finnish national database that includes health surveys collected every five years. Focusing on 20 years, they identified 31,909 people who completed one or more surveys that included details on lifestyle factors such as physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use.
Does Traumatic Brain Injury Lead To Dementia?
Researchers then looked at national health registries. Of the study group, they identified 288 people hospitalized due to a major TBI and 406 hospitalized due to a minor TBI who did not have dementia within one year of their injury. A total of 976 people developed dementia over an average 16-year follow-up period.
Of those with a major TBI, 27 people, or 9%, developed dementia. Of those with a minor TBI, nine people, or 2%, developed dementia. And of those with no TBI, 940 people, or 3% developed dementia.
After adjusting for age and sex, researchers found that people who were hospitalized due to a major TBI had a 1.5 times greater risk of dementia than those without a TBI.
Considering that there is no cure for dementia or TBI, the results of our study suggest that prevention of other dementia risk factors such as excess alcohol consumption and physical inactivity could reduce the risk of dementia in people with major TBI. More research is needed on larger groups of people.
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