Study Suggests Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury are 60% More Likely to Develop Dementia

Researchers at the University of California examined the medical records of over 180,000 former US Armed Forces veterans, all of whom were free of dementia at the beginning of the study. 16% of those with a diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury went on to develop dementia compared to 10% of those studied who did not have a traumatic brain injury. The researchers took into account increased risk factors for dementia, including diabetes and high blood pressure, before suggesting that veterans with TBI are 60% more likely to develop dementia. The study also suggested that veterans with TBI who have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or cerebrovascular disease were at even higher risk of developing dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society commented: ‘While we don’t need to worry about smaller bangs on the head, larger trauma to the brain could increase the risk of dementia. This interesting study adds weight to that evidence and also suggests that mental health issues in those already at increased risk can make them even more likely to develop dementia. ‘We need to understand more about the relationship that trauma has to later cognitive decline and dementia if we’re going to reduce these effects. Alzheimer’s Society funds research to examine how changes in the brain caused by brain injury can lead to dementia. This is one of too many unanswered questions about dementia, so we need a significant increase in research to find answers for the one in three people over 65 who will develop the condition.’ With staggering percentage in mind, it is essential that we not only remember those who gave their lives in wars past and present, but also those who are living with the cost of war. The wide variety of training that we provide ensures those who have given so much receive the highest quality care.