New Evidence Shows Even Mild Concussions Can Raise Risk for Dementia

For both young and old, a traumatic brain injury seems to raise the risk of dementia.
Illustration: sbtlneet (Pixabay)

One of fiction’s most commonly used plot devices—a knock on the head used to render someone momentarily unconscious—is a lot more harmful in the real world. A new study published this week in The Lancet Psychiatry reaffirms that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), even those that are relatively mild, are linked to a higher risk of dementia in our later years.

The researchers obtained and studied the medical records of 2.5 million Danish-born residents living in the country in 1995. (Unlike many countries, including the US, the medical histories of residents of Scandinavian countries like Denmark are easily tracked through various nationwide registries). They then looked ahead in time to see how many of the Danes over the age of 50 would go on to be diagnosed with dementia at some point between 1999 to 2013.

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