Older adults are at a higher risk of
traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to falls or other accidents. People who suffer from TBI frequently
have cognitive issues such as problems with memory, attention, and learning.
When the older adult struggles with degenerative cognitive declines, such
as from Alzheimer’s disease, and then acquires a TBI, the combination
may pose exacerbate the cognitive problems considerably. This combination
may be further worsened by the severity of the TBI and the age of onset
of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
A recent study examined the relationship between TBI severity and age of
onset of cognitive impairment in older adults.
A neuroimaging analysis revealed that:
- Participants with a history of TBI had an earlier age of onset of cognitive
impairment from neurodegenerative disease as compared to those with no
history of TBI.
- Mild TBI – but not moderate to severe TBI – is related to an
earlier age of onset of cognitive impairment.
- Mild TBI is associated with an earlier age of onset in the participants
who have a clinical diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.
Clinicians should be advised that a history of TBI is a risk factor for
accelerated onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment
from neurodegenerative diseases. When treating older adult patients with
a history of TBI, these findings may help clinicians make a more prognosis
and ensure that suitable therapeutic measures are in place.
Source: Wei L, Risacher SL, Thomas WM, et al. Traumatic brain injury and
age at onset of cognitive impairment in older adults. Journal of Neuropsychology.