The Relationship Between Traumatic Brain Injury and DementiaAccident victims can suffer a traumatic brain injury due to many different causes. A man or woman may suffer a violent blow to the head in a car accident, while working, after a slip and fall, or due to a construction accident. Newborns may suffer a traumatic brain injury due to medical malpractice. Recreational accidents are another common cause of TBIs.

Many TBIs require long-term care to mend a victim’s physical problems, to rehabilitate their cognitive skills, and to improve their emotional outlook. Now, a recent study in The Lancet Psychiatry, reveals another danger. The publication reports that there is a “prospective association between patient history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “

The researchers analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of Danish cases which revealed a “strong case” for connecting a TBI to Alzheimer’s disease.

The authors used data from the Danish registries, with hundreds of thousands of cases, for their analysis. The authors of the study conducted two reviews to determine the causal role between a TBI and dementia.

The researchers found that the risk of dementia due to a TBI was increased – even in patients under 30 years old. While most people under 30 have normal cognitive function, there is a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s which “correlates with worse memory performance and lower hippocampal volumes.” The publication stated that “Even before the disease becomes self-evident, correlated genetic risk between dementia and TBI might still affect the likelihood of exposure to TBI in subjects with high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

TBI and other risk factors for dementia

The study is a follow-up to a 2017 Lancet Commission study on risk factors for dementia – which, according to the National Law Review, included “less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and low social contact.” The 2020 study now adds “TBI, air pollution, and high levels of alcohol consumption” to the list of possible causes of dementia.

The studies are important for personal injury lawyers for two reasons:

  1. First, the studies help verify why traumatic brain injuries are so serious.
  2. Second, the studies indicate what steps doctors should take to diagnose dementia.

Failure to make a proper diagnosis may be medical malpractice if the patient comes to preventable harm as a result. If, for example, a patient is subjected to unnecessary medications or procedures as a result of an incorrect diagnosis, then the patient or his/her family may have cause for a medical malpractice claim.

At Merkel & Cocke, P.A. our attorneys have the experience and resources to help TBI victims obtain strong settlements and awards when drivers, doctors, and others are negligent. We’ve been fighting for accident victims for nearly 40 years. Our attorneys work with premier neurologists, neurosurgeons, physicians, and therapists. To discuss your accident case, call us at 662-627-9641 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in Jackson, Clarksdale, Oxford, Tupelo, and across the Gulf Coast Region.