Well, crap

I came across this on Boston.com this afternoon.  I’m not one to generally put much faith in medical studies because one is generally the exact opposite of the next one to come down the pike.  This one, however hits home for me.

Be Well: Can one head injury lead to Alzheimer’s?

By Lara Salahi Globe Correspondent  / August 6, 2012

Can one head injury lead to Alzheimer’s?

New research suggests one moderate to severe head injury can disrupt the proteins that regulate an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School first measured protein levels in the brains of mice two days after they had incurred moderate to severe head trauma. The researchers found a reduction in the levels of two proteins, GGA1 and GGA3, and an increased level of the enzyme BACE1, which has previously been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers analyzed Alzheimer’s patients’ brain tissue and found the same protein reduction and enzyme level increase the mice had experienced.

The findings suggest that a single brain injury could significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to the researchers.

BOTTOM LINE: A moderate to severe head injury can disrupt the proteins that regulate an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s.

CAUTIONS: The study does not look at the long-term effects of enzyme disruption after a traumatic brain injury and whether it leads to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.


As some of you may know, and most of you probably don’t, I had a serious Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) when I was 10.  I nearly died.  I have long term issues that I have dealt with over the years that are side effects of my coup contrecoup concussion and brain bleed.  The fact that I was able to learn to walk again and can live my life unassisted was something of a minor miracle.

However, the ghost of my injury is always there and news like this makes me wonder if I’m destined for a very difficult future.  I’ll keep watching the studies, and if given the chance I’ll sign up for studies of the preventative medications once they become available.  Still, this is scary.

This is also a lesson.  Parents, grandparents, guardians, family, and friends, PLEASE make sure that if your kid is doing anything that might result in a TBI (this goes for skiing, rollerblading, and football to sledding, riding a scooter, and playing other sports) that they are wearing a helmet.  This one is my personal favorite.

brain helmet
Protect your brain while wearing one.

I know I complained a lot while I was in the hospital last year that I had to wear a helmet.  I wore it anyway because if I’d had a seizure the Helmet of Doom could have saved my life.  Adults, please set an example for the kids in your life and wear a helmet in activities where it is called for.  You might save your life and someone else’s.


3 thoughts on “Well, crap”

  1. Interesting. One of the theories about La Mama’s dementia (proven by autopsy to be Alzheimer’s) was that it had its roots in a serious concussion she sustained in a single-car one-person accident when she was in her early twenties. This tends to support that.

    You probably know that there’s a national Alzheimer’s research organization that links up would-be study volunteers with the studies that need them.

    1. Yeah, I thought that you might find this interesting. It’s one of the things that I’ve been dreading as more correlation has come out recently between TBI and dementia/Alzheimer’s.

      My neuro and I will talk about this at my next appointment and I know from past discussions that she’ll enroll me in any study that she thinks might be helpful. I’m already linked up with a TBI group online that connects people who’ve been injured like me with others who, well, to be blunt, weren’t so lucky.

      This article just made me more nervous.

      1. I’d be very interested in hearing about whatever your neuro links you up with, if you’re willing to share. The more (whacked but brilliant) heads, the better, I always say…

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