New research may shed light on combat concussion-dementia link

By: Patricia Kime: For More Info, Go Here…

A Virginia university has launched a massive research study to better understand the relationship between concussions and future neurological conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease in military personnel.

The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have awarded Virginia Commonwealth University $50 million to explore the long-term impacts of combat concussion.

The new money will be used to explore the health and military records of more than 2 million veterans and add 3,000 more former service members who suffered multiple concussions in combat to a program that is monitoring them for life.

“There is a clear understanding that concussions are an epidemic in sports, the military … Related to that, dementia is as well. There is a very strong belief in 2019 that there is cause and effect, but we are not sure what is in the middle there. We are studying the middle,” said Dr. David Cifu, chairman of VCU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a senior TBI specialist at VA, in a release.

The federal grant follows a $62 million award to the school in 2012 to lead a consortium of 30 universities and 27 military and veterans medical facilities to study the chronic effects of brain injuries.

Nearly 384,000 U.S. service members experienced a traumatic brain injury between 2000 and June 2018, 83 percent of which were classified as “mild,” another descriptor for a concussion. Previous research has associated traumatic brain injury with increased risk for dementia and other conditions, including Parkinson’s, suicide risk and Alzheimer’s disease, but more studies must be done to fully understand the relationship, Cifu said.

“We are getting a 360-degree overview of all aspects of these veterans and service members, from their brains and nervous systems to emotional well-being to their day-to-day functioning,” Cifu said. “That is exactly what is required to finally understand these combat concussions and their linkages to symptoms and secondary conditions like dementia.”

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