Can Head Injuries Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

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by Marta Ribeiro |

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There has been much talk about whether or not head trauma can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has found serious head injuries that result in being unconscious for more than 24 hours represent a greater risk of developing the disease.

MORE: Are firefighters more at risk of developing dementia?

Lesser head injuries where the person is unconscious for more than 30 minutes but less than 24 hours are also thought to increase the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Not enough research has been conducted to see if single head injuries resulting in unconsciousness for less than half an hour pose a risk for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, but repeated head injuries are thought to increase the risk of future cognitive issues.

Head injuries are more likely to lead to Alzheimer’s disease in later life if the person has the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. However, many people who have suffered head traumas have gone on to not develop Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia.

MORE: The Alzheimer’s Society explains how the brain works.

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