Sunday June 16, 2019

Small Head Blows Can Also Increase Risk of Dementia

In total, 357,558 participants, whose average age was 49, were tracked.

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Concussion without loss of consciousness led to 2.36 times the risk for dementia, showed the findings published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
Head blows can cause dementia, Pixabay

Even head blows that do not result in loss of consciousness may cause brain changes that increase the risk of dementia, new research has found.

The study, which tracked more than 350,000 participants, showed that the likelihood of dementia more than doubled following concussion.

Concussion without loss of consciousness led to 2.36 times the risk for dementia, showed the findings published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

These risks were slightly elevated for those in the loss-of-consciousness bracket (2.51) and were nearly four times higher (3.77) for those with the more serious moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury.

The researchers identified participants from two databases. The first group included all-era veterans whose traumatic brain injuries could have occurred during civilian or military life.

The second group included veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, for whom most of these injuries had occurred in combat zones, such as from shockwaves in blasts.

Even head blows that do not result in loss of consciousness may cause brain changes that increase the risk of dementia, new research has found.
Dementia, Pixabay

“The findings in both groups were similar, indicating that concussions occurring in combat areas were as likely to be linked to dementia as those concussions affecting the general population,” said first author Deborah Barnes, Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, US.

In total, 357,558 participants, whose average age was 49, were tracked.

Half had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, of which 54 per cent reported experiencing concussion.

The study followed the participants for an average of 4.2 years.

“There are several mechanisms that may explain the association between traumatic brain injury and dementia,” said senior author and principal investigator Kristine Yaffe, Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

Also Read: Researchers Identified Protein Associated With Breast Cancer

 “There’s something about trauma that may hasten the development of neurodegenerative conditions. One theory is that brain injury induces or accelerates the accumulation of abnormal proteins that lead to neuronal death associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease,” Yaffe said.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

“It’s also possible that trauma leaves the brain more vulnerable to other injuries or ageing processes,” Yaffe said. (IANS)

Next Story

US Researchers Finding Ways to Treat Dementia

Researchers are looking for ways to treat or prevent dementia, and a promising clinical trial is underway in the US

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alzheimer, dementia
Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem throughout the world. Fifty million people suffer from dementia, and in the next 30 years, that number is expected to triple. Researchers are looking for ways to treat or prevent dementia. VOA

Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem around the world. Fifty million people suffer from dementia, and in the next 30 years, that number is expected to triple. Researchers are looking for ways to treat or prevent dementia, and a promising clinical trial is underway in the U.S.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but age is a huge risk factor. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels help stave off dementia as we grow older

As people around the world live longer, health agencies and researchers are looking for ways to prevent, stop or treat dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common types of dementia.

Promising clinical trial

David Shorr was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 56.He is about to undergo a new procedure that could treat early stage Alzheimer’s. He is with his doctor, Vibhor Krishna, a neurosurgeon at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

The procedure Shorr is about to have involves sound waves. Ultrasound waves target and open the blood-brain barrier — a protective layer that shields the brain from infections. But Krishna says the barrier also makes it hard to treat neurodegerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. “Opening the blood-brain barrier allows us to access more of the brain tissue and be able to increase the effectiveness or bioavailability of the therapeutics,” Krishna said.

Shorr and his wife, Kim, were willing to try any new treatment that might help with his dementia. Kim describes the couple’s reaction when they received a phone call inviting Shorr to participate in a clinical trial. “There’s this trial. Would you be interested?” she said, describing the call. “And without really knowing what it was, we said, Sure.’”

Ultrasound targets protein buildup

Shorr became one of 10 patients enrolled in the study. The trial tests MRI-guided imaging to target the part of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. Krishna explains that’s where Alzheimer’s patients have a buildup of toxic proteins called amyloid. “Higher deposition of amyloid goes hand in hand with loss of function in Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.

dementia, alzheimer
FILE – Dr. William Burke goes over a PET brain scan, Aug. 14, 2018, at Banner Alzheimers Institute in Phoenix. VOA

Krishna says this procedure might allow a patient’s own immune system to clear some of the amyloid. In this procedure, ultrasound wave pulses cause microscopic bubbles to expand and contract in the brain. “The increase and decrease in size of these microbubbles mechanically opens the blood-brain barrier,” Krishna said. The patient is awake during the procedure.

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Study could help others

Opening the barrier may one day allow doctors to deliver medication straight to the site of the disease. Kim Shorr realizes her husband might not benefit from this treatment.

“We’re hopeful it can help him, but we also know maybe it will help somebody else,” she said. Shorr is glad to be part of a study that could help others who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, even if it doesn’t help him. (VOA)