Study Shows Parkinson’s Linked to Head Injury

Study Shows Parkinson’s Linked to Head Injury

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. A new study has shown that the risk of Parkinson’s disease can be increased by a mild traumatic brain injury. In the past, a severe head injury was linked to the later development of Parkinson’s. No proof was provided as to whether a slight head injury such as a mild concussion could do the same. In order to answer this question, a large group of veterans enrolled in a study and the results were announced in the journal, Neurology.

The Study

Using databases provided by the United States Veterans Health Administration, researchers were able to follow 325,870 individuals for 4.6 years. Half of the veterans had experienced a TBI, and 50 percent did not. The members of the group were between 31 and 65. When the study began, there was no evidence of dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

Over the study period, 949 of the participants who had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past developed symptoms of Parkinson’s. Of the participants who did not have a brain injury, only 513 developed Parkinson’s. Of the 76,297 with mild brain injury, 360 went on to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Those with moderate/severe injury became symptomatic for Parkinson’s at a slightly higher rate than mild trauma.

Figuring Out the Percentages

After the results were in, researchers took other elements such as sex, age, race, and health status into consideration. Adjusting for these factors gave a realistic look at the onset of Parkinson’s in those with brain injury, whether mild, moderate or severe. All types of brain injury resulted in a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s.

  • Overall, if a person had a traumatic brain injury at any level, they were 71 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s.
  • If an individual suffered moderate or severe brain injury, they had an 83 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson’s.
  • Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury such as a concussion have a 56 percent greater chance of developing the disease.

Developing Parkinson’s Earlier

After analyzing the data, researchers found out that not only was the risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s greater in those veterans with traumatic brain injury of any type, it happened earlier. The onset of Parkinson’s was approximately 24 months earlier.

Study Limitations

Two limitations may have hindered the study. The exact number of those who suffered a mild head injury may have been under-reported. In addition, since medical coding for traumatic brain injury was used, problems with this parameter may have led to fewer cases.

Applicable to Other Causes of Head Injury

The study focused on veterans who suffered a head injury. The lead researcher said that in his opinion, the results would be applicable to anyone who suffered a head injury from any cause. This includes injuries due to contact sports or car accidents.

Head Injuries Also Linked to Alzheimer’s

The occurrence of head injuries has also been linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The seriousness of the head injury and the age at which the individual suffered it may also increase the overall risk for Alzheimer’s. It is usually linked to severe head injury although mild cases have been found to also increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Other factors such as having the gene that predisposes the individual to Alzheimer’s are also involved.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. If you have suffered a head injury due to negligence, you may be able to receive compensation. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also contact me online.

I’ve helped fellow Sacramento residents with wrongful death cases and traumatic brain injury since 1982 when I began to practice law.

If you want to know more about my legal practice, go to the following pages:

I’ve won cases and negotiated settlements for $1 million or more for clients. Because of this, I have been inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates, a nationwide forum of trial lawyers.

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