Wednesday, 15 August, 2018


Even a Single, Mild Concussion Could Raise Parkinson's Risk

A traumatic brain injury can result from any kind of blow or penetrating injury to the head A traumatic brain injury can result from any kind of blow or penetrating injury to the
Patty Aguilar | 21 April, 2018, 06:11

"Our research looked a very large population of USA veterans who had experienced either mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury in an effort to find an answer to whether a mild traumatic brain injury can put someone at risk", said senior study author Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology.

Mild traumatic brain injury was defined as loss of consciousness for zero to 30 minutes, adjustment of consciousness of a moment to 24 hours or amnesia for zero to 24 hours.

When the brain trauma was more severe, the risk was even higher.

According to a large study involving 325,870 USA veterans, sustaining a mild head injury, or concussion, increases the risk for developing Parkinson's disease later in life significantly - by 56 percent.

After searching US Veterans Health Administration databases, the researchers focused on 325,870 veterans who ranged in age from 31 to 65.

The study was published April 18 in the journal Neurology. Initially, roughly 50 percent of the participants were diagnosed with mild, moderate or severe TBI, while the other half was not. Such injuries are especially common among athletes, in the military and constitute "a growing epidemic among the elderly", the authors note.

In any case, she said, "This study provides the most definitive evidence that there is this association". "As such, we believe [the study] has important implications for the general population", Yaffe said in a statement. At the start of the study, none of them had Parkinson's disease or dementia.

Concussion or mild traumatic brain injury affects an estimated 42 million people worldwide each year, according to research.

But she stressed that while the increased risk seems high - it was 83 percent higher for veterans who had experienced more serious head injury - the actual number of cases is relatively small.

"Studies such as this are often misinterpreted to suggest that all military veterans with TBI exposure are condemned to have Parkinson's disease or other negative long-term outcomes", said Kontos, who was not involved in the research.

Concussion was defined as loss of consciousness for up to 30 minutes, altered consciousness or amnesia for up to 24 hours. Among those, 949 (or 0.58% of the total participants) had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, while 513 (0.31%) had no history of it.

The risk of Parkinson's was higher for those who'd had a moderate to severe TBI.

For those without brain injuries, the risk of Parkinsons was just under one-third of one per cent, the study found.

A recent tally by the Department of Defense (https://bit.ly/1BfUZbS) estimated that almost 380,000 people on active military duty have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in the past 18 years; 82 percent of those servicemen and women experienced a mild concussion.

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