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Study links TBIs to increased dementia risk

Across the U.S., traumatic brain injuries lead to millions of people visiting the emergency room and being hospitalized, and many of them are suffered by West Virginia residents. They are also a leading cause of death, with children and athletes in contact-related sports being especially at risk. Some of the most common long-term effects of TBIs are impaired thinking and memory, but a study has shown that they could include dementia as well.

Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden studied 3 million individuals aged 50 and over diagnosed with TBIs or dementia between 1964 and 2012, comparing them with individuals without either condition. Where possible, they used siblings for the comparison. They concluded that TBIs are associated with an increased chance for dementia, especially in the first year after a TBI. The chance increased with the severity and number of TBIs.

However, this is not the same as saying that TBIs cause dementia. Further studies will be required to prove that there is a causal relationship. The authors of the study encourage anyone who has suffered from even light head injuries to pay attention to any symptoms. They also believe the study can help form more effective safety measures in sports and make people more aware of other factors that lead to dementia, such as high blood pressure and excessive drinking.

While traditionally associated with contact sports, a traumatic brain injury can be the result of a car accident or a slip and fall. If it can be established that the injury was caused by the negligence of another party, then an attorney could be of assistance when the victim is seeking compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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