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HHS HealthBeat (January 16, 2014)

Concussion and Alzheimer’s

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that some people who’ve had some fairly impactful concussions are more likely to develop brain plaques called amyloid, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, researcher Michelle Mielke looked at data on close to 600 people ages 70 or older, who reported whether they ever had a head injury with momentary loss of consciousness or memory.

She found that, among those who had memory or thinking problems, people with head injuries had levels of amyloid 18 percent higher than those without head injuries.

“Conclusion of the study is that it doesn’t mean that head trauma actually causes Alzheimer’s disease, but it may put you at increased risk.”

The study in the journal Neurology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January 16, 2014