Research carried out in England has buttressed the suggestion that head injuries may be linked to the onset of Alzheimer's disease.Doctors at the National Institute on Aging in the UK have analysed the cases of soldiers who suffered head injuries during World War II.
They found that those who suffered moderate head injuries were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's while those who experienced severe head injuries were four times as likely to develop the condition.
The doctors have said that their findings to do not demonstrate a definite link between the two but show that there is a strong associated risk.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative and irreversible brain disorder that causes intellectual impairment, disorientation and eventually death.It is estimated that between 2 and 4% of people over 65 years of age and up to 20% of those over 85 years of age suffer from the disease.
The doctors analysed the medical records and interviewed 326 male Navy and Marine World War II veterans who were hospitalised during their period of service with a head injury. They found that those who suffered mild head injuries - who had lost consciousness for no more than 30 minutes and had no skull fractures - were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
Those who had suffered more severe head injuries - who had been hospitalised and had been unconscious for more than 24 hours - were four times more likely to have Alzheimer's disease. Dr Brenda Plassman, from Duke University who was also involved in the study, said the research was a further step towards stopping Alzheimer's disease.