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Study finds possible link between brain injuries and dementia

As many Virginia families sadly know, dementia and Alzheimer's disease are devastating conditions that affect not only the patient but their loved ones as well. That is why it is important for researchers to continue to explore the possible causes of these diseases, particularly when it comes to brain injuries.

According to a study recently published in the academic journal, "Neurology," has revealed a link between brain injuries and Alzheimer's in U.S. veterans. The study looked at the records of over 188,000 U.S. veterans ages 55 or older. These veterans were all seen in a Veterans' Affairs medical facility at some point in the early 2000s and one or more times after that. Some, but not all, of the veterans were seen for head injuries. The study showed that although none of these patients had any sign of dementia when they were first treated, of those who had severe brain injuries, 16 percent developed dementia. Of the patients that had not been treated for head injuries, only 10 percent eventually developed dementia. However, it is important to note that the brain injuries the patients suffered were severe in nature, as opposed to a run-of-the-mill concussion.

Right now it is not known why and how head injuries affect the person's propensity to develop Alzheimer's or dementia, and researchers are not all in agreement about the link between severe head injuries and dementia. There may be a correlation between the number of injuries one's brain sustains and dementia. It also may be possible that head injuries lead to the formation of plaque on the brain that causes Alzheimer's.

A traumatic brain injury can happen not just to veterans, but also to any person young or old. Sports injuries, car accidents and physical attacks can all lead to head injuries. Many times, unfortunately, these injuries are caused by another person's negligence. When this happens, victims of brain injuries may want to seek compensation from the party that is at fault for the accident. Brain injuries often lead to conditions that require life-long medical care, which is undeniably very expensive. Filing a lawsuit is just one way for victims of brain injuries to receive the financial support they need to take care of themselves.

Source: USA Today, "Brain injury in veterans tied to higher Alzheimer's risk," Karen Weintraub, June 26, 2014

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