Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most devastating consequences of a motor vehicle accident. TBIs can lead to debilitating symptoms such as severe headaches, cognitive problems and even personality changes. In addition, a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that a single TBI can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, which was performed using rodents and post-mortem samples from Alzheimer’s disease patients, discovered that even a single TBI can reduce the availability of particular proteins that have been known to combat an enzyme linked to Alzheimer’s. The results of this study could lead to the development of drugs that can zero in on this mechanism, and ultimately slow down the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease.
That is the good news. The bad news is that the study reveals that an accident, fall or other injury sustained to the head may not only cause short-term harm to a victim, but may also trigger Alzheimer’s disease, and thus have long-term implications.
Keep in mind not all head injuries result in TBI. Still, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries every year. Concussions, which are the mildest form of TBI, account for 75 percent of all of these injuries.
Today, Alzheimer’s disease adversely affects 5.1 million Americans, and is by far the most frequent cause of dementia in seniors 65 and over. After a brain injury or concussion, be aware of the signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If the TBI was caused by another person’s negligence, the victim may have legal recourse to recover financial compensation for the harm that was done to them.