A recent study that appeared on CNN.com recently revealed that a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury, regardless of how mild or severe it might be, can contribute to an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The level of risk is comparable to the severity of the injury, so if one sustained a serious concussion, the risk of developing this disease would be higher than it would be for someone who sustained a mild concussion.
According to the study, which was published this past Wednesday in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, stated that a mild head injury increased the risk of Parkinson's disease by 56% while a severe one raised the risk by 83%.
What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease affects everyone in different ways, so not everyone will develop identical symptoms or experience them in the same order or at the same level of intensity. It is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that gradually worsens with time, primarily affecting movement. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:
- Slowed movement
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Changes in speech
- Loss of automatic movements
- Changes in writing
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Increased Risks
Every year, at least 42 million people sustain a concussion or some other mild traumatic brain injury. It is an issue that is of particular concern among the elderly who are more susceptible to accidents that could lead to head injuries.
Researchers who conducted the new study defined a concussion as a loss of consciousness from zero to 30 minutes, an alteration of consciousness for a second up to 24 hours, or amnesia from zero to 24 hours. They defined moderate to severe brain injuries as a loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes, alteration of consciousness for more than 30 minutes, or amnesia for more than 24 hours.
The study focused on 325,870 veterans who ranged in age from 31 to 65, none of whom had Parkinson's disease or dementia when the study began. Half of the veterans who participated had been diagnosed with either a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury. Once factors like age and health conditions were accounted for, researchers found that those who had suffered any kind of traumatic brain injury and a 71% increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The disease was also diagnosed about two years earlier in those with a history of brain injuries compared to those who were not affected.
However, the study did not account for post-traumatic stress disorder and it is possible that other factors, such as alcohol use, could also increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Ultimately, the findings support the argument that timely identification and treatment of any brain injury, regardless of severity, is imperative. For those who want to ward off any type of neurodegenerative disease, their best line of defense is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and control medical conditions as best as they can.
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Brain Injury Attorneys in Louisiana
If you suffered a brain injury recently that was caused by the negligent or careless actions of another party, you might be eligible for monetary compensation. At Anderson & Boutwell, our Louisiana brain injury attorneys have over 60 years of shared experience and never shy away from a trial. You can be confident in our ability to fiercely and effectively fight on your behalf.
For the representation you deserve, contact our office today at (985) 796-2245 to schedule a free case evaluation. We do not charge any upfront or out-of-pocket legal fees. If we cannot win your case, you will not have to pay for our services!