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Can A Head Injury Make Dementia Worse

What Is The Link Between Cte And Dementia

Traumatic Brain Injury: Could It Cause Dementia? | Brain Talks | Being Patient Alzheimer’s

In studies of the brains of former footballers and rugby players that developed dementia, microscopic changes in the brain associated with CTE is present in the majority.

However, there are also often other changes in the brain present alongside those associated with CTE, such as Alzheimers disease pathologies, and the final dementia diagnosis in these former athletes can be a range of disorders, not just CTE.

An important observation though is that CTE pathology is present in large numbers of former contact sports athletes with dementia and that this pathology is uniquely linked to brain injury and head impact exposure, suggesting these are key factors in dementia risk in these former athletes.

Acknowledgements: With particular thanks to Professor William Stewart, Consultant Neuropathologist at University of Glasgow for his support in developing this resource.

Can Head Injuries Cause Dementia

Can Head Injuries Cause Dementia?

After multiple passionate pursuit of researchers on extensive studies of brain injuries and its relation to development of form of mental condition such as dementia, they have found out few things. According to Alzheimers Association , middle aged adults who have suffered moderate to serious trauma in head or brain injury any time at their lives were 2.3 times tend to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people who don’t have history of head or brain injuries, while those who suffer severe form of brain injury can have up to 4.5 times greater risk.

In addition, from another studies, younger people are more likely to have an occurrence of head injury than older people. Head injury and brain traumas can be obtained from multiple causes. As younger people tend to have more activities that have chances to lead in head injuries way significantly compared to older people as they have lesser activities unless they work or has hobby that can render them to sustain head injuries. According to a study, head injury is the third common cause of dementia after infection and alcoholism in people under 50 years old while older people obtain dementia from history of head injuries and has developed complications.

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Brain Injury And Dementia: Conclusion

While there appears to be a link between brain injury and dementia, this should not cause you to stress about the future. The likelihood of developing dementia is still relatively low, even for those who have suffered a severe TBI in the past. All you can do is work on what you can change right now.

To reduce your risk of dementia after brain injury, it is crucial to stay physically and mentally active, eat healthily, and socialize with others. This will all keep your body and mind in shape, and improve your quality of life.

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Brain Injury And Dementia: Are They Connected

Courtney Maher, OTR/L Flint Rehab

Is there a connection between brain injury and dementia? Are there any ways to reduce a persons likelihood of developing dementia after brain injury?

To answer these questions, were looking at the latest research on brain injury and dementia. Well also show you some treatments that can help minimize your chances of getting dementia, or at least slow the progression of it.

Symptoms Of Dementia In Head Injury

Dementia: Can A Head Injury Increase Risk?

Dementia-related symptoms in head injury include those that affect thinking and concentration, memory, communication, personality, interactions with others, mood, and behavior.Individuals experience different combinations of these symptoms depending on the part of the head injured, the force of the blow, the damage caused, and the personâs personality before the injury. Some symptoms appear rapidly, while others develop more slowly. In most cases, symptoms have at least started to appear in the first month after the injury.

Symptoms of dementia in people with head injuries include:

  • Vague, nonspecific physical symptoms
  • Apathy

Some people develop seizures after a head injury. These are not part of the dementia, but they can complicate the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

Major mental disorders may develop after head injury. Two or more of these may appear together in the same person:

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Dementia Risk Doubles Following Concussion Ucsf Study Shows

Head Blows Without Loss of Conscious May Cause Brain Changes that Induce, Accelerate Cognitive Decline

Dementia should join the expanding list of possible complications following concussion, even if the patient did not lose consciousness, say researchers from UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

In their study, which tracked more than one-third of a million veterans, the likelihood of dementia was found to more than double following concussion, the researchers reported in JAMA Neurology, which published May 7.

After adjusting for age, sex, race, education and other health conditions, they found that concussion without loss of consciousness led to 2.36 times the risk for dementia. These risks were slightly elevated for those in the loss-of-consciousness bracket and were nearly four times higher for those with the more serious moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury.

Research On Brain Injury And Dementia

Research seems to indicate that brain injury and dementia are somehow linked, though the exact reason behind it remains unclear. While researchers may be unclear on why brain injury can lead to dementia, there are some facts we do know.

The following are the major conclusions of several studies on brain injury and dementia:

  • The more severe the brain injury, the higher the risk of dementia. One major study in Denmark found that a single moderate TBI increased a persons chances of developing dementia by 24 percent, and the chances increased to 35 percent after a severe TBI. Other studies have made similar findings.
  • Repeated mild traumatic brain injury increases your chances of developing dementia. Researchers discovered this fact in the 1920s when professional boxers started showing signs of mental decline after a few years in the ring. Back then it was called dementia pugilisticaor punch drunk syndrome. Nowadays its referred to as CTE.
  • A single mild traumatic brain injury rarely leads to dementia. Most of the research out there seems to show that a single concussion or mild brain injury will not greatly increase the risk of dementia. However, the study in Denmark did find a connection.
  • Traumatic brain injury might trigger Alzheimers by releasing a protein. A protein that is found in Alzheimers patients, called beta-amyloid, is also released after a severe TBI, which may explain why theres a connection between brain injury and dementia.

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What Facts Should I Know About Dementia In Head Injury

A head injury occurs when an outside force hits the head hard enough to cause the brain to move violently within the skull. This force can cause shaking, twisting, bruising , or sudden change in the movement of the brain .

  • In some cases, the skull can break. If the skull is not broken, the injury is a closed head injury. If the skull is broken, the injury is an open head injury.
  • In either case, the violent jarring of the brain damages brain tissue and tears nerves, blood vessels, and membranes.
  • The severity of this damage depends on the location and force of the blow to the head.

Do concussions cause dementia?

Damaged brain tissue does not work normally.

  • The brain has many different functions in the body, and any of them can be disrupted by this damage.
  • Not all brain damage is permanent. Like all body organs, the brain can heal to a certain extent.
  • Even this healing may not bring the brains function back to what it was before the injury.

Even a relatively mild head injury can cause prolonged or permanent declines in cognition. Head injury can also cause changes in emotions or behavior.

  • Together, these changes are known as dementia.
  • The nature of dementia in head-injured persons varies greatly by type and location of head injury and the persons characteristics before the head injury.

After a head injury, a person may have symptoms such as changes in personality, emotional problems, and difficulty making decisions or solving problems.

Keep A Healthy Brain Diet

Can Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Dementia?

Foods that promote brain function can also reduce your risk of dementia, according to several studies. The foods that make a good brain injury diet are rich in omega-3 and antioxidants. In particular, scientists recommend following the popular MIND diet, which includes foods such as:

  • Dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach at least 6 servings per week
  • Fatty fish like salmon and trout one meal per week
  • Unsalted nuts at least 5 servings per week
  • Berries, especially blueberries, twice per week
  • Whole grains 3 times per week
  • Beans 3 times per week
  • Olive oil

In addition, its important to avoid or at least limit red meat, dairy, sweets, and fried foods, as these can increase inflammation in the brain.

The MIND diet supports healthy cognitive function and allows the brain to heal faster from its injuries. Therefore, to reduce your risk of dementia after brain injury, try to follow it as closely as you can.

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Who Can Be Held Liable For An Accident

Following are just a few examples of how negligent parties can cause accidents that lead to head injuries:

  • A grocery store neglects to mop up a spill they have been told about. A customer slips, falls, and hits their head.
  • A distracted driver runs a red light and plows into another car. The driver of the car that was hit strikes their head on the steering wheel or dash.
  • A worker climbs up on a ladder. The defective ladder collapses and the worker falls and hits their head on the ground.

In these cases, the store owner or manager, the negligent driver, and the ladder manufacturer may be held liable for injuries.

An experienced attorney can advise you about who you may be able to sue for a serious head injury in an accident based on the details of your case.

What Causes Bruising And Internal Damage To The Brain

When there is a direct blow to the head, shaking of the child , or a whiplash-type injury , the bruising of the brain and the damage to the internal tissue and blood vessels is due to a mechanism called coup-countrecoup. A bruise directly related to trauma, at the site of impact, is called a coup lesion. As the brain jolts backwards, it can hit the skull on the opposite side and cause a bruise called a countrecoup lesion. The jarring of the brain against the sides of the skull can cause shearing of the internal lining, tissues, and blood vessels that may cause internal bleeding, bruising, or swelling of the brain.

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How Is Icp Monitored

Intracranial pressure is measured in two ways. One way is to place a small hollow tube into the fluid-filled space in the brain . Other times, a small, hollow device is placed through the skull into the space just between the skull and the brain. Both devices are inserted by the doctor either in the intensive care unit or in the operating room. The ICP device is then attached to a monitor that gives a constant reading of the pressure inside the skull. If the pressure goes up, it can be treated right away. While the ICP device is in place the patient will be given medication to stay comfortable. When the swelling has gone down and there is little chance of more swelling, the device will be removed.

How To Live With Dementia Risk

Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Flanagan and other experts say that an increased risk from a TBI doesnt mean a person is doomed to develop dementia.

What I tell my patients who are worried about this is not everyone with TBI gets dementia, Flanagan said. Just as not everyone who smokes gets emphysema and lung cancer.

Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said that the study can help experts better monitor and help those at high risk for developing dementia.

If theres a way that we could perhaps track patients over time so we could determine whether theyre developing symptoms, whether theyre developing signs even before they get their symptoms, said Devi, who is also the author of The Spectrum of Hope: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimers Disease and other Dementias.

Devi said that while theres no medication to prevent the onset of dementia, there are lifestyle risk factors that can impact a persons risk.

If theres a way we can follow them over time so we can intervene earlier before they began to develop symptoms, Devi said, that would be one way that we can use these risk-factor type studies to help reduce long-term risk for dementia.

For example, people can reduce their risk of certain dementias by keeping a healthy weight and keeping blood pressure low.

Lifestyle modification it can reduce risk for something like Alzheimers between 30 to 50 percent, said Devi.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Head Injury

The person may have varying degrees of symptoms associated with the severity of the head injury. The following are the most common symptoms of a head injury. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Mild head injury:

  • Raised, swollen area from a bump or a bruise

  • Small, superficial cut in the scalp

  • Headache

  • Sensitivity to noise and light

  • Irritability

  • Problems with memory and/or concentration

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Alteration in taste

  • Fatigue or lethargy

  • Moderate to severe head injury –symptoms may include any of the above plus:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Severe headache that does not go away

  • Repeated nausea and vomiting

  • Loss of short-term memory, such as difficulty remembering the events that led right up to and through the traumatic event

  • Slurred speech

  • Weakness in one side or area of the body

  • Sweating

  • Behavior changes including irritability

  • Blood or clear fluid draining from the ears or nose

  • One pupil is dilated, or looks larger, than the other eye and doesn’t constrict, or get smaller, when exposed to light

  • Deep cut or laceration in the scalp

  • Open wound in the head

  • Foreign object penetrating the head

  • Coma

  • Vegetative state

  • Locked-in syndrome

  • The symptoms of a head injury may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

    Dementia Damage Triggered By A Head Bump

    What a single head bump can do to your brain

    There was a time when no one thought much of a bump on the head.

    Many folks especially, lets face it, guys still wont seek help, thinking its a sign that theyre soft.

    Its time to bury that old stereotype.

    A bump on the head can be serious business, especially if youre older and the latest research shows how the risks go far beyond being a dizzy for a few days.

    Long after you think youve recovered, you could end up facing something much worse than a head bump.

    You could end up with dementia.

    New research finds that older folks who suffer traumatic brain injuries have a 25 percent higher risk of all forms of dementia overall and more specifically, a 25 percent jump in the risk of Alzheimers disease.

    The biggest danger zone is within the first six months after the bump, when you could face up to FOUR TIMES the risk of dementia.

    When I say traumatic brain injury, Im not just talking about the knocks taken by pro athletes that have been making headlines lately.

    TBIs are also caused by the common bangs and bumps that many people suffer, including knocks on the noggin from falls or head injuries from traffic accidents.

    Even a bump on a door or drawer can do it!

    There are some 1.4 million brain injuries treated in ERs every year and many more people suffer but dont seek help.

    But as the new study shows, they should.

    If you suffer five or more over a period of time, your dementia risk will nearly triple.

    Contact Us

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    Diagnosing Dementia After Tbi

    Many of the symptoms of dementia, such as memory and concentration problems, are also common traumatic brain injury symptoms.

    Therefore, even if you display some dementia signs, that doesnt mean you have the disease. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a specialist. A specialist can perform a variety of tests to determine whether you have dementia, such as:

    • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests. These tests measure your memory, problem-solving, language skills, and other abilities related to cognitive functioning.
    • Lab tests. Doctors might also check the levels of hormones, chemicals, and vitamins in your blood to rule out any other causes of your symptoms.
    • Psychiatric evaluations. This test will help doctors determine whether depression or other psychiatric problems may be contributing to your symptoms.

    These tests can enable doctors to identify dementia after brain injury and find effective treatments.

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    Dr. Bruce Lamb: The blood-brain barrier is the area which protects our brain from the peripheral immune system so that were not having peripheral immune cells entering and causing damage in the brain. After an injury, it can get damaged and lead to leakage of the blood-brain barrier, so then peripheral immune cells and all different kinds of things can come into the brain. There is certainly evidence that that could potentially be part of whats happening in traumatic brain injury.

    For chronic traumatic encephalopathy, where the pathology occurs later on, after many years of concussions, the tau protein begins to form around blood vessels in the brain, so it really suggests that theres something locally about how those blood vessels are responding to injury, which is then inducing that type of pathology. One of the big problems we have with studying the immune system in the brain is that we dont have a lot of great ways to study this in living people. There are starting to be some ways to do brain imaging to look at the immune system, but were still at the infancy of being able to assess, Is the immune system activated, and what does that mean for patients?

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