February 26, 2016 – Dementia and Head Injury
Anchor lead: Repeated head injury and dementia risk appear linked, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Are dementia and repeated head injury, known as TBI, related? Researchers have identified a link between traumatic brain injury and accumulation of proteins also associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Vani Rao, a TBI expert at Johns Hopkins and author of a recent book on TBI, says before a definite connection can be established, more research is needed.
Rao: Researchers are noticing that those who have had repetitive TBIs that some have a kind of brain pathology, accumulation of this protein tau, accumulation of another type of protein called tdb43 but the bottom line is what are the actual rates? So it’s really autopsy based, so we really don’t know what is the denominator? We know what the numerator is, there are a few people with this history of repetitive TBIs having this abnormal brain pathology but it is out of how many? :29
Rao says the field really needs an inexpensive, low-risk imaging test that could be used in the general population to answer this question. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.