Traumatic brain injury associated with increased dementia risk in older adults

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) appears to be associated with an increased risk of dementia in adults 55 years and older, according to a study published online by JAMA Neurology.

Controversy exists about whether there is a link between a single TBI and the risk of developing dementia because of conflicting study results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Americans 55 years and older account for more than 60 percent of all hospitalizations for TBI, with the highest rates of TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, inpatient stays and deaths happening among those patients 75 years and older. Therefore, understanding the effects of a recent TBI and the subsequent development of dementia among middle or older adults has important public health implications.

Researchers Raquel C. Gardner, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined the risk of dementia among adults 55 years and older with recent TBI compared with adults with non-TBI body trauma (NTT), which was defined as fractures but not of the head or neck. The study included 164,661 patients identified in a statewide California administrative health database of ED and inpatient visits.

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