Traumatic Brain Injury Tied to Risk of Parkinson's Disease

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Traumatic Brain Injury Tied to Risk of Parkinson's Disease
Traumatic Brain Injury Tied to Risk of Parkinson's Disease

TUESDAY, July 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A traumatic brain injury (TBI) with loss of consciousness may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to research published online July 11 in JAMA Neurology.

Paul Crane, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues collected data on 7,130 older adults, average age 80. Among these individuals, 865 had suffered a TBI and lost consciousness at some point in their lives -- some fairly early in life. Of these, 142 were unconscious for more than one hour.

Crane's team found that 1,537 suffered from dementia and 117 had Parkinson's disease. The researchers said they uncovered a link between TBI with loss of consciousness for more than an hour and a greater risk for Parkinson's disease. There was also a link to greater risk of cortical cerebral microinfarcts. The researchers did not find an association between TBI with loss of consciousness and an increased risk for dementia.

"We already know we should be encouraging the use of bike helmets and so on to limit the chance of a severe head injury," Crane told HealthDay. "We should also seriously consider eliminating activities with the very highest levels of risk of head injuries."

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