Jul 6, 2017

Traumatic brain injuries may increase risk of dementia

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).


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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,596,496 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 462,135 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  6. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  7. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  8. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return to the air this weekend with a remotely produced episode.
  9. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The view from the other side of the coronavirus peak

We'll soon be crowding into cafes it's 1954 in Rapallo, Italy. Photo: LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approximating normality, but the World Health Organization is cautioning that moving too fast will undermine the sacrifices made so far.

Where things stand: Nearly every country on Earth is still seeing their caseload increase, and a recent uptick in Singapore shows that apparent victory over the virus can be fleeting. But several countries are providing reason for optimism.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World