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Friday 28th October 2016

Head injuries linked to dementia

21st July 2011

Scottish scientists working with a team from the United States have established a link between a single head injury and dementia.

Old Hands

The teams from the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and the University of Pennsylvania have been working closely on the work, which is thought to be the first to find a physical abnormality in brain tissue of people who have had head injuries.

In the past, sports which involve repetitive blows to the head such as football or boxing, have been linked with dementia but now a similar linked has been established with individuals who have had other kinds of head injury.

Brain tissue from 39 people who had recovered from a brain injury, and 39 people who had never had a brain injury were studied and abnormalities were found in a third of the former.

Study leader in Glasgow Dr William Stewart said: “We know from clinical studies that there's a link between sustaining a head injury and developing dementia, and what we're interested in is trying to understand what might be happening in the brains of these patients.”

Patients who had sustained a head injury had quite large numbers of proteins in their brain, similar in size to older patients.

However, Dr Stewart said the abnormalities were in their 40s and 50s and the only thing which marked them apart from the control group was their head injury.

The researchers hope that the findings will lead to further research that could reveal how and why dementia develops.


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