New Study Shows a Connection Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Dementia In Seniors

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), to adults 55 years and older, may be linked to an increase in dementia according to a new study by JAMA Neurology.

This study supports the findings of another from earlier this year that 16% of veterans who had suffered a traumatic brain injury developed dementia compared with only 10% of veterans who had not experienced a TBI.

Individuals 55 and older account for 60% of all TBI related hospitalizations, primarily from falls. Individuals 75 years or older account for highest rates of TBI related emergency department (ED) visits, in-patient stays and deaths. The figures, according to Dr. Raquel Gardner of the University of California – San Francisco, emphasize the need for gaining a better understanding of the relationship between TBI and dementia.

A health database of ED and inpatient visits in California provided information to researchers that identified 164,661 patients, aged 55 and over who were recently diagnosed with TBI or non-TBI body trauma (NTT) – fractures that occurred in the body other than the head and neck.

Few studies have used NTT as controls in linking TBI and dementia together according to researchers. Reverse causality can be ruled out by using the NTT as a control while studying the link between dementia and TBI. The patients who had no signs of dementia at the study baseline were followed up for an average of 5.7 years.

Of a total of 51,799 patients diagnosed with TBI, dementia developed in in 8.4%. This is in contrast to 5.9 percent of patients diagnosed with NTT. The TBI patients also developed signs of dementia in an average duration of 3.1 years in comparison to 3.3 years in NTT patients.

A spokesperson for the research team commented:

“Given the high rates of TBI in the general population, primary prevention of TBI, which in this study was overwhelmingly due to falls, is critical. The effect of mild TBI sustained in middle age or earlier deserves further study during a longer period of follow-up. In addition, further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of post TBI dementia to inform secondary preventative strategies.”

The researchers did add that there was some room for error in the report as they used information from ED and inpatient databases where some misdiagnoses or miscoding may have occurred. In addition they also lacked data regarding family history and previous TBIs, illnesses or operations which may have some influence on the results.

Preventing TBI in Seniors

Preventing falls by seniors is the best way to reduce the high rate of traumatic brain injury to the 55 and older age group. The connection between TBI and future dementia indicates that reducing falls will reduce the rate of dementia in our aging population. Negligence by others is a leading cause of falls by seniors which not only may cause a severe head injury but also a broken hip, pelvis, shoulder, arm or wrist. Any serious injury to an older person can be life changing or even fatal.

Dolman Law Group

Dolman Law Group is a Florida personal injury law firm dedicated to protecting the state’s growing population of older citizens. We have successfully represented victims of falls by seniors caused by the negligence of others. Seniors often blame their age for the accident, when it was not their fault. If you or a loved one was hurt in a fall, contact a personal injury lawyer at Dolman Law for a free evaluation of your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, related expenses (travel, parking, medical supplies etc.), pain and suffering. Reach out to Dolman Law today at 727-451-6900. You pay nothing until we win.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

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