Traumatic brain injury associated with dementia in large study

30 January 2018

Swedish researchers have found a link between traumatic brain injury and an increased risk of dementia, in some cases 30 years after individuals experienced the injury. The findings are published today in the scientific publication PLOS Medicine.

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“The association between head injuries and dementia risk is one that has gained increasing attention in recent years, with several high-profile sports cases sparking discussion around the topic. This huge Swedish study adds to a growing body of evidence supporting a link between traumatic brain injury and increased dementia risk, although that risk was lower with milder head injuries.

“The study was not designed to be able to pick apart whether traumatic brain injury was the definite cause of dementia and in-depth studies are now needed to pin down the exact mechanisms behind this link. Alzheimer’s Research UK is currently supporting two pioneering UK studies to understand how brain injury affects the biology of the brain and how this could contribute to dementia. By looking for brain shrinkage and other signs of damage soon after a head injury, UK scientists are taking important steps towards understanding how brain injury is related to thinking and memory problems.”