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One Brain Trauma Can Lead to Alzheimer's Disease

- Monday, July 30, 2012

New research using mice and post-mortem samples of brains from patients with Alzheimer’s disease found that a single event of a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can disrupt proteins that regulate an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s.

A moderate-to-severe TBI or head trauma is one of the strongest environmental risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. A serious TBI can lead to a dysfunction in the regulation of the enzyme BACE1. Elevations of this enzyme cause elevated levels of amyloid-beta, the key component of brain plaques associated with senility and Alzheimer’s disease,” first author Kendall Walker, PhD, postdoctoral associate in the department of neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), was quoted as saying.

Moderate-to-severe TBIs are caused most often by traumas that result in a loss of consciousness, such as severe falls or motor vehicle accidents. Not all traumas to the head result in a TBI. Each year 1.7 million people sustain a TBI. Concussions are the mildest form of a TBI and account for about 75% of all TBIs. Studies have linked repeated head trauma to brain disease and some previous studies have linked single events of brain trauma to brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease currently affects as many as 5.1 million Americans and is the most common cause of dementia in adults age 65 and over.

Excerpts – Red Orbit/ Source: Journal of Neuroscience