Concussions May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Risk6 years, 5 months ago
Posted on Jan 10, 2014, 6 a.m.
People with memory and thinking impairments and a history of head trauma have levels of amyloid plaques 18% higher than those with no head trauma history.
Having a history of concussion involving at least a momentary loss of consciousness may be related to the buildup of Alzheimer's-associated plaques in the brain. Michelle Mielke, from the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues studied data collected on 448 men and women who were cognitively normal, and 141 individuals with mild cognitive impairment. All study subjects were ages 70 years and older; all were surveyed as to whether they had ever experienced a brain injury that involved any loss of consciousness or memory. Of the 448 people without any thinking or memory problems, 17% reported a brain injury; 18% of the 141 with memory and thinking difficulties reported a concussion or head trauma. While the researchers found no difference in any brain scan measures among the people with mild cognitive impairments, whether or not they had head trauma, the study revealed that people with memory and thinking impairments and a history of head trauma have levels of amyloid plaques an average of 18% higher than those with no head trauma history.
Mielke MM, Savica R, Wiste HJ, Weigand SD, Vemuri P, Knopman DS, et al. “Head trauma and in vivo measures of amyloid and neurodegeneration in a population-based study.” Neurology. 2014 Jan 7;82(1):70-6.