While defending our country, soldiers risk sustaining serious warfare-related injuries that could lead to long-term side effects. A recent study has shown a link between traumatic brain injury and later development of dementia and early death.
In the U.S., Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent form of dementia, affecting more than 5.3 million Americans nationwide. Dementia is characterized by a progressive decline in a person’s ability to think or reason clearly.
Researchers from the journal Neurology followed 188,764 soldiers who showed no signs of dementia. By the end of the study, 1,229 of them had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
As time went on, 16 percent of soldiers who had been diagnosed with TBIs eventually developed some form of dementia. Compared to only 10 percent of soldiers without brain injuries, the study deduced that traumatic brain injuries increased victims’ risk of developing dementia later on.
TBI victims also displayed dementia symptoms earlier, around 78.5 years of age, while their uninjured counterparts began showing signs at 80.7 years old. Older veterans suffering from TBI were more likely to suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well.
The study also uncovered signs that TBI contributed to early death as well. On average, TBI victims died two years earlier than uninjured veterans did, even if they never developed signs of dementia.
A researcher from the University of Utah School of Medicine stated, “This study… sheds light on the more complex relationship between medical and psychiatric diseases [combined] with TBI.” He and other researchers are hoping that their findings will lead government agencies to pay more attention to the long-term effects of TBI on younger veterans and civilians.
The true effects of a traumatic brain injury may not show up until months or even years later. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, make sure to stay vigilant for signs of cognitive, emotional or behavioral issues even after the initial injury has healed.
After a TBI, your loved one may need extended therapy and care to regain full function. These options may help victims heal, but they can be a substantial time and monetary commitment.
If your loved one’s TBI was caused by negligence, call Metier Law Firm to discuss your case. A personal injury settlement could help alleviate financial burdens and provide better care for your family member.
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