Concussions May Accelerate Alzheimer's in At-Risk Populations

Concussions linked to accelerated cortical thickening in people genetically at-risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Concussions linked to accelerated cortical thickening in people genetically at-risk for Alzheimer's disease.

HealthDay News -- Concussions may be associated with accelerated cortical thickness and memory decline in Alzheimer's disease-relevant areas, according to a study published in Brain.

Jasmeet Hayes, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined 160 US veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The veterans in the study were relatively young, with an average age of 32.

The investigators found that concussions seem to accelerate Alzheimer's disease-related brain deterioration and mental decline in people who are at genetic risk for the disease.

"We found that having a concussion was associated with lower cortical thickness in brain regions that are the first to be affected in Alzheimer's disease," Dr Hayes said in a university news release. "Our results suggest that when combined with genetic factors, concussions may be associated with accelerated cortical thickness and memory decline in Alzheimer's disease-relevant areas."

Reference

Hayes JP, Logue MW, Sadeh N, et al. Mild traumatic brain injury is associated with reduced cortical thickness in those at risk for Alzheimer's disease [published online January 11, 2017]. Brain. doi:10.1093/brain/aww344

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