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TBI and neurodegenerative diseases

July 11, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually includes a lengthy recovery process and extensive therapy, but does it also increase the risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease?

TBI can contribute to risks for dementia, but don’t seem to increase risks for developing Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to researchers from the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital. The study examined 40,000 working-age adults across Finland, constituting one of the few studies done on dementia and TBI in middle-aged adults.

The risks for developing dementia can persist for years after a person has recovered from TBI, researchers found. “According to our results, it might be that the TBI triggers a process that later leads to dementia,” explains Rahul Raj, an experimental neurosurgeon and one of the lead authors on the study, in a release.

With numbers of TBI cases on the rise—the World Health Organization predicts TBI will become a leading cause of death in the next 10 years—the study results may have positive effects on approaches to rehabilitation and long-term care.

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