New Research Links Concussions and Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain Abnormalities Similar in Both Conditions
Science Codex is reporting that a new study published in the Journal Radiology is showing similar brain abnormalities between mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also known as concussions and those found in early Alzheimer’s dementia.
“Findings of MTBI bear a striking resemblance to those seen in early Alzheimer’s dementia,” said the study’s lead author, Saeed Fakhran, M.D., assistant professor of radiology in the Division of Neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“Sleep-wake disturbances are among the earliest findings of Alzheimer’s patients, and are also seen in a subset of MTBI patients,” Dr. Fakhran said. “Furthermore, after concussion, many patients have difficulty filtering out white noise and concentrating on the important sounds, making it hard for them to understand the world around them. Hearing problems are not only an independent risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, but the same type of hearing problem seen in MTBI patients has been found to predict which patients with memory problems will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.”
Sleep-wake disturbances are among the most disabling post-concussive symptoms, directly decreasing quality of life and productivity and magnifying post-concussion memory and social dysfunction.
According to Dr. Fakhran, the results suggest that the true problem facing concussion patients may not be the injury itself, but rather the brain’s response to that injury.
“Traditionally, it has been believed that patients with MTBI have symptoms because of abnormalities secondary to direct injury,” he said. “Simply put, they hit their head, damaged their brain at the point of trauma and thus have symptoms from that direct damage. Our preliminary findings suggest that the initial traumatic event that caused the concussion acts as a trigger for a […]