Persons with Alzheimer's disease have nearly 30 percent higher risk of head injuries, and a 50 percent higher risk of traumatic brain injuries than persons without Alzheimer's disease, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
This is the first study that has assessed the incidence of head and traumatic brain injuries among persons with Alzheimer's disease.
‘Injuries caused by falling are a major health issue among the older population. For older people, falls are the principal cause of head injuries; particularly, persons with cognitive disorders have an increased risk of falling.’
Falls are the most common cause of head injuries in older adults, and persons with Alzheimer's disease are known to have a higher risk of falling.
The findings of this study highlight the importance of fall prevention, as head injuries can shorten the life expectancy and deteriorate a person's functional capacity. For persons with Alzheimer disease, head injuries may lead to the loss of activities of daily living and independence, and the need for residential care even at early stages of the disease.
This study was conducted in the nationwide register-based MEDALZ cohort which included all community-dwelling persons who received an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis in Finland 2005-2011. From the overall cohort, 67,172 persons without a previous head injury were selected to the study.
For comparison purposes, a matching person with neither Alzheimer's disease nor a previous head injury was identified with respect to age, sex and university hospital district.