March 30, 2021, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
There is now consensus in the medical community that a history of head injury is commonly associated with earlier long-term cognitive decline and with a greater risk of developing dementia.
A new study suggests that sustaining even one head injury can increase the chances of developing dementia later in life by 25%. What’s even more worrisome is that the chances increase with each subsequent head injury. According to the PennToday publication,
“Andrea Schneider of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about her new study, which found that head injuries, including mild ones, are linked to an increased risk of dementia, particularly among women and white people. “There’s a great deal more work that is needed to be done to look at reasons why we may have observed these differences,” she said.”
The study was published in March’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia followed a large sample group of 14,000 American’s who had their health outcomes tracked for 25 years after sustaining a brain injury. The results showed that people with even mild brain injury/head injury were at a higher risk of developing dementia.
You don’t need to be a professional athlete or soldier to get a brain injury. The leading source of concussions and brain injuries are car accidents, slips and falls, and sports injuries. Concussion may occur with serious symptoms like disorientation, nausea, ringing of ears, loss of consciousness or sensitivity to light and sound. They can also occur with few to no immediate symptoms. Symptoms may occur immediately or be delayed by hours or days, or even weeks.
Concussion occurs when a blow to the individual's head or body causes the head to move violently and the brain to jiggle in the skull like jello in a bowl. The jiggling is thought to cause damage to the brain tissue with subsequent swelling or bleeding.
Dementia is a catch-all term for memory and cognitive loss caused by changes in the brain. While Alzheimer’s is the most well-known type, there are several other progressive and irreversible diseases that fall under the dementia umbrella.
Alzheimer’s is a result of the tangling of proteins that interrupt neuron communication within the brain. Another common one is vascular dementia which occurs when the blood flow in the brain isn’t adequate to supply oxygen. Other forms can be caused by the loss of brain cells. All dementia is associated with memory loss, personality changes and behavioural changes.
The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s is also affected by genetics. People with dementia in their family history are more likely to develop it as well. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and high blood pressure can also increase the risk of dementia. Head injury is another major factor as shown in the study. Women are more likely to develop dementia after head injury than men. There are several other studies involving large sample groups that show the likelihood of developing dementia differs on a race basis as well. There has not yet been research to determine why gender and race differences may exist.
The study of brain disease is still limited because most investigative science requires the brain to be analyzed physically. The patients must be dead and the disease is usually well advanced at that point.
Researchers are trying to determine what populations are most likely to be harmed by head injuries and why. This information may help the development of better prevention and treatment of future head injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident and sustained a head injury contact the experienced lawyers at Deutschmann Law today. We are committed to your future.