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Akesak / iStock

A nationwide study of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in Finland has found that being hospitalized with a moderate to severe TBI as an adult increases the risk of dementia later in life.

Why it matters: Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and injury globally. In 2013, 2.8 million Americans went to the emergency room, were hospitalized or died from a traumatic brain injury, according to the CDC. As populations age, it's important to know the long-term consequences of brain injuries. The authors believe this is the first nationwide survey of TBI and neurodegenerative disease.

What they did: The researchers used data from the Finnish Care Register for Health Care to identify 19,936 18-65 year olds who were hospitalized with a moderate-severe TBI and 20,703 persons hospitalized with mild TBI between 1987 and 2014. They looked for a diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease starting one year later. Since past research has shown that mild traumatic brain injuries are not associated with dementia, the group with mild TBI's were used to control for socioeconomic status. The research was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS Medicine.

What they found: People hospitalized with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury are 90% more likely to develop dementia than those with a mild TBI, even after controlling for socioeconomic status, which is a risk factor for both TBI and neurodegenerative disease. There was no increase in risk of Parkinson disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Limitations:

The study only looked at people who were hospitalized, so some mild cases of TBI may not be included in the study. However, the large sample size helps to control for some potential sources of error. It's also possible that the same factors that make someone likely to develop dementia may make them more likely to receive a traumatic brain injury.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Omicron variant lifts Moderna's stock price — CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states — NYC urges masks indoors "at all times" regardless of vaccination status — New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Media startups anxiously await BuzzFeed’s stock market debut

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Digital media companies considering going public are watching BuzzFeed's expected stock market debut next week to see how investors will respond.

Why it matters: A slowdown in SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) earlier this year pushed some digital media companies that were considering going public via SPAC IPOs away from the idea, such as Vice.