Research findings presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris found that veterans who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) had twice the risk of developing dementia over time than those who never suffered a TBI. The research conducted by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs included medical records of nearly 300,000 veterans 55 or older.
The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Veteran Service Organizations throughout the country are particularly alarmed because TBI has become the “signature wound” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI accounts for 22% of casualties overall and 59% of all blast related injuries.
Research into the effects of TBI is still a new field which needs to be explored, however researchers believe enough information now exists to make a strong connection between suffering a TBI and experiencing serious neurodegenerative disorders later in life.
It is crucial that the veterans now returning from combat are effectively screened for TBI upon separating from the military and monitored when necessary in order to address any complications from their injuries in the future. However, it is still unclear if early rehabilitation will slow or stop the onset of cognitive dementia.
Source: MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/vp/43801957#43801957