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The link between dementia and traumatic brain injuries

The full damage from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is hard to assess because it can take a long time for all the symptoms to show.

Now, researchers are learning that TBIs increase the risk that someone will eventually go on to develop dementia. While the risk of dementia is naturally greater for people who have sustained multiple TBIs over the course of their lives, even a single, relatively mild TBI increases a victim's risk.

Researchers looked at 36 years worth of data involving 2.8 million people. Those who had sustained one or more TBIs had a 24 percent higher risk of developing some form of dementia, like Alzheimer's. The risk of dementia increased with both the severity of the injury and the number of TBIs suffered. Researchers were quick to point out, however, that this does not indicate that a TBI automatically sentences a victim to suffer dementia later. However, it does show that the effects of a brain injury can continue to develop for decades.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the number one cause of TBIs. However, brain injuries are also common in workplace accidents (particularly "struck-by" accidents where a victim is hit by a falling object or knocked into a hard substance with force), during rough contact sports and car accidents. While falls are the leading cause of TBIs for elderly victims, motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of TBIs in those between the ages of five and 24.

If you or your family member suffered a TBI due to another person's negligence, a personal injury claim may provide the money needed for specialized care and therapy that can help mitigate the injury's long-term effects. Personal injury claims can also help replace lost income and cover other necessary medical expenses.

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