Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that slowly erases memory and disables brain functions such as cognizance, balance, calculation, and correlation. The most fatal part of Alzheimer’s disease is that it is irreversible and the symptoms often become noticeable at later stages. Alzheimer’s disease has no known cause or cure. Researchers have found that the possible causes for Alzheimer’s disease could be genetic lineage, concussions, brain injury, and trauma. With many people being affected by Alzheimer’s disease (around 1.5 million in the U.S.), or by similar other dementia, the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease due to brain injury, trauma, and concussions is being researched worldwide.
Concussion can be caused by any brain injury that occurs when you hit your head hard or fall down. Concussions have shown to cause changes in the white matter in the brain. There are no prior symptoms to note that a person could be having concussions as a result of mental trauma.
Recent research published in the journal "Radiology" compared the MRI scans showing changes occurring in patients who had suffered concussions due to brain injury and trauma with those who were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and found a significant correlation. According to this study, concussions and brain injury caused due to trauma are only the beginning and not the end; they further develop and lead to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Also, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. There may be around 500,000 people in the 30-to-50 age group who may have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Most symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are noted in older people.
In adults over 50, concussions and brain injury are definite risk factors to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Multiple concussions resulting from brain injury and trauma, especially those that lead to unconsciousness, may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease multifold.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain injury and trauma can lead to a number of the following symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that some of these symptoms are noticed in patients who have had concussions or have suffered brain injury or similar trauma.
• Problems with memory, thinking, and concentration
• Impaired judgment due to brain injury
• Personality changes due to related trauma
• Symptoms of disorientation
• Loss of language skills due to brain injury
• Requiring assistance to perform daily routines
Though the exact manner in which concussions could lead to Alzheimer’s disease is yet to be evaluated, it is now known that concussions cause credible brain injury as seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, brain injury due to trauma should not be taken lightly and left as such. Brain injury and concussions pose the possibility of developing further complications such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia with growing age. They must be investigated properly by a medical practitioner.
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