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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

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220-212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

The new grifters: outrage profiteers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Republicans lost the Senate and narrowly missed retaking the House, millions of dollars in grassroots donations were diverted to a handful of 2020 congressional campaigns challenging high-profile Democrats that, realistically, were never going to succeed.

Why it matters: Call it the outrage-industrial complex. Slick fundraising consultants market candidates contesting some of their party’s most reviled opponents. Well-meaning donors pour money into dead-end campaigns instead of competitive contests. The only winner is the consultants.