Getting a concussion either from playing sports, hitting ones head against the wall, or any other way is certainly a painful and memorable experience. But, research on Thursday found that concussions might actually be related to Alzheimer’s in the elderly might be related.
The study, done with elderly subjects at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota took a look at the relation between the two occurrences. In the research, elderly people who have mild cognitive impairment and concussion’s are more likely to develop Alzheimers and its protein deposits.
Concussion and Alzheimer Study
The study, as released in the journal Neurology, took a look at head trauma and cognitive decline in the elderly. The approximately 600 residents of a community in Minnesota were the test subjects and the research started in 2004. The study took a look at their mental capacity along with metabolic functions.
What researchers found were that 75 percent of them had no problems or issues. But, the rest did, and of those an equal percentage had a past history of concussions in their youth. The concussions which generally occurred when men were 21 and women at 32, shows that the two conditions might be related.
For those with cognitive function impairments, researchers found fibrous proteins that built up in the brain. This material has been linked in many research papers related to Alzheimer’s disease, and has researches wondering about the links between concussions and the Alzheimer’s connection. The higher amyloid levels, the fibrous proteins, attaches itsself to the memory area of the mind, and other areas of the mind.
The study though does have its detractors, and some found that the build up actually didn’t occur in the areas of the brain where Alzheimer’s is the focus of research. The lower brain metabolism and hippocampus areas are very sensitive to the brains functionality, and research has to continue to truly establish a link.
Head trauma and concussions certainly might be linked to Alzheimer’s, and brain test scores and memory test scores had mixed results among different groups. What the study does show though, is that Alzheimer’s disease is still a very complicated disease to track down in the mind, and possibly a concussion angle could pave a way to its cure.