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Mild TBIs linked with higher dementia risk

Anyone in West Virginia who has incurred a traumatic brain injury should be aware of the findings of a new study published in JAMA Neurology. After studying a group of veterans with TBIs, it discovered that those who incur even a minor TBI with no loss of consciousness are at a higher long-term risk for developing dementia.

A group of veterans from the Veterans Health Administration who were diagnosed with TBIs were compared, via propensity score matching, with another group of patients not so diagnosed. Individuals in both groups were not diagnosed with dementia at the outset. The severity of each TBI was measured according to the criteria set by the U.S. Department of Defense or by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

The categories include mild without loss of consciousness, mild with loss of consciousness, mild with loss of consciousness unknown and either moderate or severe. Among the group of veterans, 6.1 percent developed dementia during the course of the study, while 2.6 percent did on the other side.

The patients whose TBI was "mild without loss of consciousness" were at the greatest risk for dementia; researchers believe the reason may be that mild TBIs accelerate atrophy. Overall, a dementia diagnosis was made 1.5 years earlier among the veterans than among those who had not suffered TBIs.

Those who suffer delayed brain damage after a head injury may want to determine if they have the grounds for a personal injury claim. Perhaps it was the negligence of a driver or a property owner that led to the accident; a lawyer might hire third-party experts to find proof of negligence, afterwards calculating a fair settlement. The lawyer may then negotiate for a settlement out of court. Victims may be covered even when conditions like dementia arise in the future.

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