Brain trauma may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease

August 22, 2001

New research published in the online journal BMC Neurology suggests that brain injury leads to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This is the first study to use autopsy brain material to study the connection between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's and confirms similar findings gained from clinical studies.

Kurt Jellinger and colleagues from the Institute of Clinical Neurobiology in Vienna examined brain tissue from two collections. The first collection contained tissue from 58 individuals who had suffered from brain injury and the second from 57 Alzheimer's sufferers. Analysis of the injured brain tissue showed higher levels of Alzheimer's disease than seen in the general population.

Analysis of the second collection of brain tissue showed an increased level of traumatic brain lesions in Alzheimer's brain samples when compared to normal brain tissue. The researchers conclude that brain injury increases an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's.

This study also looked at ApoEå4, a gene implicated in the development of Alzheimer's. They found that brain injury was only a higher risk factor for Alzheimer's in individuals lacking ApoEå4. This suggests that the relationships between brain injury, genetics and the development of Alzheimer's disease are complex and are in need of further study.

This research is important because it identifies a potential risk factor connected with the development of Alzheimer's disease. It could allow the people most at risk to benefit from new treatments.
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BioMed Central

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