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A new study shows that having a concussion can be a new risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s.
Though not everyone that has head trauma will eventually have memory loss, a team from the Mayo Clinic conducted a study that involved 448 older people who did not have any memory loss and 141 people who did.
According to USA Today, the study showed that those who had no sign of memory loss had normal brain scans. However, those who did have memory loss and had a history with brain injury were five times more likely to have a buildup of brain protein, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
This study is the very first to use brain scans in order to measure the buildup that is associated with Alzheimer’s. Before this study, researchers have only used cadavers.
"What we think it suggests is, head trauma is associated with Alzheimer's-type dementia -- it's a risk factor," said Michelle Mielke, an associate professor of epidemiology and neurology at Mayo Clinic. Mielke’s study can be found in the latest issues of Neurology, according to HealthDay.
More than five million Americans are plagued with this disease. Some other factors still have likely yet to be discovered, but these brain scans identified another risk factor.
"If you do hit your head, it doesn't mean you are going to develop Alzheimer's," Mielke said, although "it may increase your risk."