After controlling for confounding variables, a large cohort study concludes that mTBI is an independent risk factor for dementia.
Studies have established an association between moderate or severe TBI—but not mild TBI—and risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.(1) In addition, studies have demonstrated an association between repeated mTBI and cognitive deficits later in life.(2) The findings of this large-scale study provide new information that even a single mTBI might increase the risk for dementia.
The results of this study and many others underscore the need for more effective preventive and therapeutic measures for concussion. The current therapy for mTBI—rest—may not be sufficient to prevent the secondary damage that results from the cascade of metabolic and hormonal dysfunction initiated by brain injury. It can be said that there is no such thing as a “mild” TBI. Any TBI should be treated aggressively to minimize damage and to optimize recovery. A comprehensive approach that includes the appropriate use of diet, exercise, and nutritional supplementation, can fill an important gap in care and minimize the long-term neurodegenerative effects of all forms of TBI, whether mild, moderate, or severe.