Repeated head impacts associated with later-life depression symptoms, worse cognitive function

Scientists have long believed that a single traumatic brain injury (TBI) earlier in life may contribute to problems with memory, thinking and depression later in life. In most previous studies, however, research failed to examine the possible role of having a history of exposure to repetitive head impacts, including those leading to “subconcussive” injuries, in these later-life problems. In the largest study of its kind, an association has been found in living patients exposed to repetitive head impacts and difficulties with cognitive functioning and depression years or decades later.

Scientists from the Boston University (BU) Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Centers, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and San Francisco VA Healthcare System teamed up to analyze the records of 13,323 individuals age 40 and older (average age 62) who participate in the internet-based Brain Health Registry. Of those, 725 or 5 percent of participants reported exposure to previous repetitive head impacts through contact sports, abuse or military service. In addition to repetitive head impact history, the scientists also examined the effects of having a TBI with and without loss of consciousness.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Repeated head impacts associated with later-life depression symptoms, worse cognitive function

  1. That’s most interesting! Won’t say any more but it shines light on a few personal incidents earlier on in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Repeated blows to the head, and yet parents want their child to keep playing the sport that is causing long term injury.
    In living with a TBI the assumption is a high risk of early onset of dementia.
    I have an opinion on that based on my experience. It goes something like this. In living with TBI it’s important to manage trigger activities. If I have an activity that places a cognitive demand on me for a long duration I will experience a headache. Not just any headache, but one that indicates that I’m experiencing swelling or inflammation in the brain. The inflammation causes a reduction in oxygen to parts of the brain cells in the inflammation zone. If this gets repeated too often it is bound to have a negative effect on that part of the brain. Cognition – dementia. Not a major leap.
    Self regulation is therefore so important.

    Like

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