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Researchers find concussion can lead to Alzheimer’s disease

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Concussion and a history of repeated head trauma that produced a momentary loss of consciousness can result in a characteristic sign of Alzheimer’s disease according to research conducted by Dr. Michelle Mielke with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota that was published in the Dec. 26, 2013, edition of the journal Neurology®.

Dr. Mielke compared the head trauma history of 448 individuals that had no signs of memory loss or cognitive impairment with the head trauma history of 117 people who had mild memory loss and cognitive impairment that is indicative of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The difference in the percentages of people that suffered at least one instance of head trauma with accompanying loss of consciousness varied by only one percent between the two groups.

People with a history of head trauma that involved loss of consciousness exhibited an 18 percent higher rate of development of amyloid plaques than people that had never experienced concussive injury of any kind. Amyloid plaques are one of the initial signs of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers cannot claim that concussion causes Alzheimer’s disease directly. The research does indicate a relationship exists between concussion and the development of Alzheimer’s disease but the differences in the chemistry of the development of Alzheimer’s disease due to concussion and the development of Alzheimer’s due to age or any other causes are different.

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