A new study published in the journal “Neurology” indicates that combat soldiers who suffer head injuries face increased risk of dementia later in life.
Dr. Deborah Barnes and her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, reviewed the medical charts of 188,764 United States veterans aged 55 years and older, and found that after nine years, 16 percent of those who had suffered a traumatic brain injury developed dementia.
That number compared with only 10 percent of those who never suffered brain trauma.
Veterans with other risk factors — such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder — were even more likely to show symptoms of dementia.
The 60 percent increased dementia risk is consistent with other research indicating that concussions and brain trauma accelerate late-life cognitive decline.
Head injuries leading to one or more hours of unconsciousness double an individual’s dementia risk, and mild but multiple head injuries can accelerate cognitive losses as well.
This scientific evidence points to the importance of protecting your head at any age.
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