New study finds a link between head injury and loss of consciousness and increased risk for Parkinson’s disease
Dr Crane explains that the reason for this may be the head injury itself. Or, he suggests, the head injury may not cause Parkinson’s disease, but make it more difficult for people who’ve sustained a head injury to recover, adjust or deal with the events leading to Parkinson’s disease that are separate rom the injury itself.
For the study, Dr Crane and his team looked at data on more than 7,000 older adults at an average age of 80. Among the subjects, 865 had suffered a head injury and lost consciousness at some point. Out of these subjects, 142 were unconscious for over an hour. The team found that over 1,500 subjects suffered from some type of dementia
, while 117 had Parkinson’s disease.
The research team found a significant link between brain injury with loss of consciousness for more than an hour and a heightened risk for Parkinson’s disease. The team also found that head injury sufferers were at increased risk of microscopic stroke. They didn’t, however, find a correlation between head injury and loss of consciousness and heightened risk for dementia
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Researchers strongly advise that people take protective measures when participating in activities
The team couldn’t find a reason as to why head injury and loss of consciousness may increase your risk for Parkinson’s disease. However, Dr Mill Etienne, spokesperson for the American College of Neurology, strongly suggests that everyone takes protective measures when participating in activities when a head injury is likely.
No matter what the activity is, do what you can to protect your brain. Even if a head trauma happens when you’re young, it can have a severe, long-lasting impact later in your life. It may even be a good idea to eliminate activities with very high levels of risk of head injuries, Dr Crane says.