The word “concussion” often condemns images of professional athletes breaking into each other on a field, or members of the army within a close range of artillery explosion. In fact, however, most traumatic injuries to the brain do not occur in athletes or soldiers, but in the elderly.
Adults are more prone to falling and entering car accidents as they get older. Although these events are less dramatic than sporting accidents, they can lead to severe trauma to the brain. Since 2013, traumatic injuries to the brain in the US occur at the highest rates in adults aged 75 or older.
In younger adults, it was found that harmonization, which has been broadly defined as a trauma straining brain cells and disturbing the links between them, doubles the risk of a person developing dementia later in life. The risks to older adults are thought to be similar, but it has not been studied well. However, there can be decades of drug that can reduce their risk. A study published this week in the journal JAMA Neurology found that statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, can be fairly protective against dementia among older adults suffering from harmonies.
The researchers, led by a team at the University of Toronto, traced nearly 29,000 patients over 66 who were admitted to hospitals in Ontario and who were diagnosed with harmonies from 2003 to 2013. They had also seen which patients had those who started taking statins to their heart problems within three months of their harmony through the Canadian general health system and the Ontario drug program.
Researchers then used these databases to see which of these patients had gone on to develop any form of dementia after four years. Of the 28,815 patients registered in the study who had been compromised, around 5,000 went on to develop dementia – a rate of 43 cases per 1,000 people, and more than double the rate of around 19 cases per 1,000 people among those who had not had concussions. Among those who started taking statins, however, the rate of dementia development fell to 37 cases per 1,000 people.
Fewer cases of dementia per 1,000 are small, but suggest that statins could help to retain some of the cognitive function in a conditioned brain. An older brain may be able to repair some damage as a result of couples, but other damage may be permanent, said Donald Redelmeier, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto who led the study. Often, a brain can find a way of working around types of permanent damage, as they do to cope with normal aging. However, if misleading proteins start to build up in the brain – like most types of dementia – the brain may be less able to cope.
Perhaps statins help to keep the brain's ability to cope with other problems after concussion, says Redelmeier. It's hard to say why that's true. As it was only an observation study, patients were not examined with MRI or CT scans, and so researchers could not say what was happening in the brain of patients after admission, and how statins made had helped t .
Importantly, the Redelmeier team also looked at dementia rates in older patients treated for ankle sprains, and found that they were similar among those who took statins and those who did not. This suggests that statins are not generally defensive to developing dementia – although neither did they have any negative consequences for patients.
It is too early to say that anyone with a dispute should be placed on statins to prevent dementia, but this work opens the door for further research to understand the relationship between the two. Meanwhile, he noted that statins can reduce the risk of dementia after concussions encourage older adults to take their cholesterol control medication, noted Redelmeier. Because high cholesterol is mostly anymptomatic, people often do not take their medication, which puts them at a much higher risk of developing heart disease.