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Traumatic Brain Injury Leads to Dementia

Paulette Chapman

Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris revealed that veterans who suffer a head injury are more than twice as likely to develop dementia as people who suffer no brain injury. The outlook is even grimmer for retired football players, as 35 percent of former NFL players showed signs of dementia, according to an msnbc.com report.

One area DC veteran suffers from traumatic brain injury (TBI) after exposure to multiple bomb blasts in Iraq in 2005. Although doctors say his TBI is mild, he has to rely on electronic calendars and is uncertain what his future holds for his mental health. He is now a student and says it takes him twice as long to read as his classmates.

Researchers believe that a hit to the head causes the brain’s axons to stretch. When the axons stretch, the inner structure suffers damage. The damaged axons eject proteins that can clog the brain and lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Doctors found deposits of these brain proteins in the brains of autopsied football players. Now, there is a scanner can detect the deposits in the brains of players while they are alive.

One neurosurgeon said Agent Orange disease pales in comparison to TBI. Doctors are still uncertain as to the long-term effects of head injuries and only time will tell, according to the neurosurgeon.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

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Approved by attorney Paulette Chapman