Dementia Risk Increases with Age Following Traumatic Brain Injury

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The risk of developing dementia following traumatic brain injury increases with age, according to a retrospective cohort study of 164,661 patients.

Raquel C. Gardner, MD, of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues, investigated the risk of dementia among adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury trauma (NTT) as evaluated by an emergency department incident or inpatient visit.

Patients 55 years or older were evaluated for mild versus moderate to severe TBI using the CDC’s International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes, and NTT was defined as fractures excluding fractures of the head and neck. The researchers sought out dementia diagnosis one or more years after the initial trauma.

Of the 51,799 patients with TBI (31.5%), 8.4% developed dementia compared to 5.9% of patients with NTT. Adjusting for covariates, the researchers found that cases of moderate to severe TBI had an increased risk of dementia regardless of age, but patients with mild TBI that were 65 years and older were more at risk.

The research indicates that increasing age may be an important risk factor, and that young adults may be more resilient to the effects of TBI than older adults. 

traumatic brain injury
Dementia Risk Increases with Age Following TBI

This study quantifies the risk of dementia among adults 55 years or older with mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury or non-traumatic brain injury trauma. 

Raquel C. Gardner, MD, of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues, found that those with moderate to severe TBI at 55 years or older or mild TBI at 65 years or older had an increased risk of developing dementia. Younger adults may be more resilient to the effects of recent mild TBI than older adults.

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