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Have you ever had a concussion or injured your head in such a way that made you lose consciousness or require medical attention? If so, you may be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Recent research published in the journal Neurology suggests that a history of concussion and mild cognitive impairment in elderly shows increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a type of cognitive decline.
According to the study, severe head trauma was linked to a build up of a protein in the body called amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, among other neurological disorders. A variety of people were tested who either only had a history of serious head trauma, or that coupled with mild cognitive decline. Results showed that the brains of those with both cognitive impairment and a history of serious head trauma yielded high amounts of amyloid proteins in the brain.
How does do amyloids link to Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be caused by two abnormal brain structures, called plaques and tangles. Plaque forms as a result of beta-amyloid, protein fragments that build up in the brain between nerve cells. The tangles are fiber twists resulting from another protein called tau that builds up in brain cells. While the exact function these abnormalities play in Alzheimer’s disease is currently unknown, it is believed that they play a major part in hindering nerve cell communication, a process that causes memory loss, personality changes, and other Alzheimer’s symptoms.