Concussions, even those that are mild, more than double the risk for developing dementia down the road, new research suggests.
The findings stem from an analysis that tracked concussions and dementia risk among nearly 360,000 military veterans.
Study author Deborah Barnes noted that many of the younger vets in the study had experienced concussions while in combat, often in Iraq and Afghanistan. Head blows among older vets were often due to falls or car accidents.
“Results were similar in the two groups,” she said, “so we don’t think there is anything special about these head injuries.” That makes it more likely that the dementia risk seen among military personnel would also apply to the general population.