Take care of your head with a predisposition to Alzheimer's
Sergey Syrov, XX2 century
It has been found that in people genetically predisposed to the development of Alzheimer's disease, concussion accelerates the onset of disease–related changes - atrophy of brain cells and cognitive impairment.
The results of a study conducted by specialists from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are published in the journal Brain (Hayes et al., Mild traumatic brain injury is associated with reduced cortical thickness in those at risk for Alzheimer's disease).
It is known that moderate traumatic brain injuries are one of the strongest external factors that increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. It remained unclear whether mild traumatic brain injuries and concussions increase the risk.
The study was conducted with the involvement of 160 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who have suffered one or more mild concussions, and those who have never received such an injury. The thickness of the cerebral cortex of the subjects was measured using MRI at seven sites, which are known to be the first to atrophy in Alzheimer's disease, as well as at seven control sites.
"We found that concussion was associated with a decrease in the thickness of the cortex in areas of the brain that suffer from Alzheimer's disease," says study author Jasmeet Hayes. "Our results show that, in combination with genetic factors, concussion may be associated with an accelerated rate of cerebral cortex atrophy and memory loss in Alzheimer's disease."
It should be particularly noted that the described brain abnormalities were found in a group of relatively young people, whose average age is 32 years.
According to Hayes, the discovery should lead to more attention to patients who have suffered a mild concussion. Despite the seemingly rapid recovery, such an injury can trigger pathological processes leading to a severe and difficult to treat disease.
The researchers hope that the data they have obtained will allow them to further understand in detail how concussion accelerates the development of a number of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Parkinson's disease and others.
"Then the day will come when there will be a therapy that will delay the onset of neurodegenerative pathologies," Hayes concluded.
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