The short-term effects of a brain injury are well documented, but a new study has now suggested that those who suffer a head injury are at an increased chance of developing dementia in later life.
The findings follow a 36-year study of more than 2.8 million people, in which those who suffered a brain injury were 24 per cent more likely to develop the condition.
The age that the injury was suffered was also found to be an important factor, as those who suffered a brain injury in their 20s were 63 per cent more likely to experience symptoms of dementia in later life.
The University of Washington in Seattle, which published the study, said the “fully adjusted risk of all-cause dementia in people with a history of TBI was higher than in those without a history of TBI, as was the specific risk of Alzheimer’s disease”.
Lead author Professor Jesse Fann said: “Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury, including those with less severe injuries, have an increased risk of developing dementia, even decades after the injury.
“However, it’s important to emphasise that although the relative risk of dementia is increased after traumatic brain injury, the absolute risk increase is low. Our findings do not suggest that everyone who suffers a traumatic brain injury will go on to develop dementia in later life.”