Mild TBI Linked to Increased Dementia Risk in Veterans

More than two-fold increased risk of dementia with mild TBI with and without loss of consciousness
More than two-fold increased risk of dementia with mild TBI with and without loss of consciousness

HealthDay News — Even mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) without loss of consciousness (LOC) is associated with increased risk of dementia among veterans, according to a study published online May 7 in JAMA Neurology.

Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH, from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues conducted a cohort study of all patients diagnosed with a TBI in the Veterans Health Administration health care system from October 1, 2001, to September 30, 2014, to examine the correlation between TBI severity, LOC, and dementia diagnosis. Data were included for 178,779 patients diagnosed with a TBI in the Veterans Health Administration health care system and a comparison group of 178,779 propensity-matched patients. 

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The researchers observed small differences between veterans with and without TBI. Overall, 2.6 and 6.1% of those without and with TBI, respectively, developed dementia. The adjusted hazard ratios for dementia were 2.36 for mild TBI without LOC, 2.51 for mild TBI with LOC, 3.19 for mild TBI with LOC status unknown, and 3.77 for moderate to severe TBI, after adjustment for demographics and medical and psychiatric comorbidities.

"Studies of strategies to determine mechanisms, prevention, and treatment of TBI-related dementia in veterans are urgently needed," the authors write.

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