Brain scans reveal tau tangles present after serious blow to the head


By Ed Pinches | Thursday 05 September 2019

Science Translational Medicine: In vivo detection of cerebral tau pathology in long-term survivors of traumatic brain injury

A UK team of researchers including scientists from the UK Dementia Research Institute have revealed that the tau protein is increased in people who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The findings are published today (Wednesday 4 September) in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain is physically damaged, for example after a car crash or fall.

Dr Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:
“We know that traumatic brain injuries are associated with an increased risk of dementia, but we don’t fully understand how they could set dementia-causing processes into motion.

“In this small, early-stage study, researchers used sophisticated PET scans to look for brain changes in people who had sustained a TBI at least 18 years earlier. This technique revealed that people with TBI had higher levels of the tau protein in the brain compared to healthy volunteers.

“Tau is involved in multiple diseases that cause dementia and it’s crucial that we understand more about how it accumulates and spreads through the brain. It may be that this type of PET scan could help to predict which people with a TBI might go on to develop dementia, but this would have to be explored in further research.

“Understanding the long-term consequences of a head injury and the changes that lead to an increased risk of dementia, will help researchers working to find ways to protect the brain from damage.”



By submitting a comment you agree to our comments policy.
Please do not post any personal information about yourself or anyone else, especially any health data or other sensitive data. If you do submit sensitive data, you consent to us handling it in line with our comments policy.

Leave a Comment

About the author

Ed Pinches