Studies done by WebMD have discovered that older veterans who suffer brain injuries causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are twice as likely to develop age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s than brain injuries without PTSD.
Soldiers fighting for what the United States was founded on continues to get harder and more dangerous with new enemies the unpredictability of combat. Treatment of veterans is something our brain injury lawyers have been paying attention to for a while. As these soldiers who suffer concussions and other brain injuries return to civilian lives, the after effects like brain damage continue to linger long after the fighting stops.
Brain injuries & post-traumatic stress disorder linked to dementia in soldiers.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco tell WebMD a study they’ve conducted is among the first to make the correlation between combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to dementia later in life.
“We can’t say from a study like this one that PTSD causes dementia,” one expert said. “But if it does, one theory is that stress is to blame.”
PTSD is a disorder plaguing many veterans no matter how young or old they are. In a previous study of older World War II and Korean War veterans, more than 12 percent of them still reported symptoms of PTSD. Ten to 15 percent of Vietnam vets suffered from PTSD, and in the most recent study, 17 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer form the disorder caused by traumatic brain injuries and combat stress.
The University of California study used more than 180,000 older veterans for seven years. Most of them were males, and just over 53,000 were diagnosed with PTSD. None had dementia in late 2000, but 17 percent were diagnosed with the degenerative disorder by late 2007. The vets with PTSD had about an 11 percent risk of getting dementia compared to the 7 percent risk non-PTSD vets had.
Recent veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries due to roadside improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. IEDs are homemade explosives used in modern guerrilla forms of combat used more and more by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. The director of the division of geriatric psychiatry says treating these soldiers is becoming more difficult.
With the increased amount of state of the art weaponry, you have to wonder about why treating veterans with post traumatic stress disorder caused by brain injuries continues to be a problem. One can only hope the amount of work that goes into fighting a war will one day be applied to helping veterans after the war who struggle with dementia.
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