West Virginians may be interested in findings that concussions increase the risk of dementia in seniors. Approximately 1.7 million Americans experience a minor concussion each year, and 15 percent of those who experience repeated brain injuries experience abnormal brain functioning in the future. Car accidents and contact sports are common causes of concussions and other head injuries. Some research has shown that individuals in their mid-50s who sustain traumatic brain injuries are at an increased risk of developing dementia.
More than 66 percent of hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries involve patients over the age of 55. Patients who are older than 75 years of age have the highest rate of traumatic brain injuries. There are a variety of reasons why a traumatic brain injury may influence the occurrence of dementia, including progressive neurodegeneration triggered by the injury.
One MRI study found that there were more brain abnormalities in patients who had sustained a concussion than in normal patients. The study also found a high prevalence of sleep-wake disturbances among concussion patients. These patients experienced disturbance in their sleep patterns even 70 days after sustaining a concussion. Results from some patients who have sustained a concussion often produce similar results as early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Patients who sustain a head injury may face long-term health issues associated with the trauma that could make it difficult to function normally at work and at home. In the event that the injury was caused by the negligence of another party, a personal injury attorney can often be of assistance in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.