Veterans who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more than two-fold at risk of a dementia diagnosis later in life according to a press release on VAntage Point.

Of the veterans studied, 2.6% did not experience a TBI but developed dementia. For veterans with TBI, 6.1% did develop dementia. The recent study “of more than 350 000 veterans, even mild TBI without LOC was associated with more than a 2-fold increase in the risk of dementia diagnosis.”

The recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Kristine Yaffe Lab at the University of California, San Francisco, was one of the largest to study TBI severity and dementia. It included 178,779 veterans within the VA system with TBI diagnosis.

TBI survivors with and without loss of consciousness (LOC) were evaluated by the study for risk of developing dementia. The study suggests veterans should receive regular memory screenings to evaluate changes in memory.

Dementia Linkage To TBI

There is some disagreement about the linkage between TBI and later development of dementia. Some argue dementia may be related to the physical injury to the brain. Meanwhile, others think head trauma causes toxin and protein build up that leads to dementia, later.

The study was funded as part of the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), which is a jointly funded project by VA and the Department of Defense.

RELATED: Who Was Behind TBI Misdiagnosis Scandal

Dementia Prevention Behaviors

The Kristine Yaffe Lab is led by Dr. Kristine Yaffe. The lab focuses on the epidemiology of cognitive function and dementia in aging populations. The research suggests “up to half” of the dementia cases evaluated may be the result of modifiable behaviors.

Basically, and I am paraphrasing, the research at the lab suggests up to half of the cases of dementia studied could be impacted if the sufferer modified their behaviors. These behaviors include “cardiovascular risk factors, psychosocial factors, and health behaviors”.

By targeting these risk factors, those at risk of dementia could reduce their risk.

Specific behaviors that could improve the odds are:

  • Increased exercise
  • Managing hypertension
  • Cognitive training

On a panel a couple of months ago, Dr. Yaffe provided additional information about these behaviors including cognitive training.

“It’s really the concept of being mentally active,” she said. “Find something you enjoy where you’re learning something new, challenging and stimulating your brain.”

Of course, these recommendations are not just good for cognition but are recommendations to live a long and happy life.

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25 Comments

  1. Veterans who reads this can you please tell me how many Veterans Mission Act or picking your own Doctor this is example if you lived in Arizona and you want to Mass General Hospital in Boston at the VA expensive.

    • Benjamin, what this article is informing people about is actually not new. Benjamin, the topic Dr. Yaffe is speaking to is not an unknown. Benjamin, researchers were aware of this information back years ago. 2010…2011…2009…I will explain a little later… Will take awhile for me to write about it with also showing you the past documentation other than from my words.

  2. Thanks for posting this confirming research Ben. This would be a good time for you to update and repost your excellent article on service-connecting TBI, wherein (if I recall correctly) you said veterans with PTSD caused by TBI should have the same rating for TBI as they do for their PTSD. I am 100% TDIU, with five rated conditions. The highest being 70% for PTSD. The condition rated at ZERO is the one that caused all of my disabilities– you guessed it, my TBI. If my TBI had the rating that it should have, then I would be 100% scheduled. Of course, if the government ends TDIU, then all of us in this category will have to go back and fight for a full 100% scheduled rating. (Unless existing 100% TDIU veterans are “grandfathered” in.) Thank you for all of your efforts.

  3. Too many of us were written off with untreatable dementia when we had treatable temporal lobe seizures. Look out for your friends and relatives in that situation..

  4. The treatment of TBI by the VA is far behind the private sector and many therapies that are working for people in the private venue are not accepted because bureaucrats make the medical decisions at the VA. Put that in your communist pipe, Bernie, and smoke it. (Bernie says that most Vets are VERY satisfied with VA medical care………………………

    • Tell Bernie that is because only 25% of All Americans, including veterans, ever bother to obtain or read their own medical records…

      For those that say “they get great VA care”, I seriously question, each time I hear such nonsensical statements, just how many of those specific veterans do say such things due to:
      Ignorance?
      Misinformation?
      Coersion?
      Willfull ignorance?
      They simply can not handle the truth about themselves?
      They just don’t care???

      How many veterans out there fit into those categories???
      What categories are missing from this list?

      WAKE UP VETERANS!!!

      GET AND READ YOUR OWN MEDICAL RECORDS!
      DO SO BEFORE YOUR OWN IGNORANCE OF WHATS GOING ON BEHIND THE CURTAIN IN WIZARD OF ozz VA LAND LITERALLY SHORTENS YOUR LIFE UNNECESSARILY, OR LITERALLY KILLS YOU, Unexpectedly…

      Because if you think your getting “good medical care” from VA, they have already won the battle for Your Financial Benefits to use them for their purposes, meaning you got low balled. They have already won the battle for the costs associated with giving you “proper medical care”, VOC REHAB, and any and all other benefits you were “supposed to be eligible for and entitled too”.
      They win when you fail to act, and when good men/women fail to act…
      You know how that line ends…

      I Still can’t even get an Evaluation for my in service Blast wave TBI which idk I even had untill over a decade after my service ended, because of VA’s endless parade of mainly student Psych doctors in training through out 20 years in VA care, whom most were introduced to me only as “Doctor so and so”, utterly failed to notice brain, memory deficits, refused to accommodate my memory issues, slowed processing, etc , and all were adamant I didn’t have a this yet failed to ever evaluate, send me for eval, were not qualified too eval or make that decision that I didn’t need to be evaled. What are they teaching these “doctors” about TBI? Why do the think we with TBI are mostly just mental health patients only w no brain injurys even possible from their perspective? What gives them the right to deny Medical evals when reasonable doubt says evals say it should be done too rule out tbi so correct care treatment can proceed, and do so before they write you off as “it’s all in your head” or “your only a mental case” nothing to see here… That’s piss poor Medical care imho folks.
      If you can’t get a TBI evaluation to begin with, or one that fails to meet basic standards of care, guidelines for evaluation, then you can not get treatment, or ever receive proper appropriate financial benefits, live in poverty and suffer typically alone and in misery… Some life that is…
      That’s why vets are killing themselves imho folks, they reach a point where poor care, no care, fraudulent care gets them nowhere but in full time misery.
      I know, so do others on here, and countless others reading but afraid too post on here. I encourage those of you in this shoes that have lived that way long enough in enforced isolation from pain or medications side effects, eventually the chronic pain, chronic depression, chronic poverty, overwhelms, and leads to suicide people, it’s that simple. And since I’m just a high school edumakated Jar Head, and I figured it out, Why the hell can’t the VA leaders w far more “education” than me figure it out and do something about it? What about the Politicians making all our health care decisions w their touted educations? My education, and reason for signing up, was stolen by their BS policies that wrote me off as a mental caselong ago with out ever even evaluating what I told them plain as day was wrong w me. But what do I know, I only have a high school education. GET OVER YOURSELVES! The education system is a joke anyways in most areas, most of which never get used after college anyways.

      Why, you may be wondering, if you have a pulse, a brain, and have “certain symptoms” but no evaluation or a proper diagnosis, …is this TBI “scandal” happening in the first place?
      Simply put, I strongly suspect it’s because if the true number of veterans with bonified TBIs of any type (there are several) were made known/made public, then nobody would “volunteer” to join the military, or “volunteer” to go fight in BS ongoing “wars”, so that “our” ellected officials can keep getting “paid off” to keep “screwing over veterans with legitimate serious injuries, because it’s them very politicians that “masterminded”, “designed”, “engineered”, and “knowingly allowed” the TBI scandal (among others) too happen, to begin with… #EnufIsEnuf!
      (Intentionally misspelled)

      If “we the people” would stand behind their military veterans, instead of giving us more lip service of “thank you for your service/ sacrifice” and “no action to back it up” by actually holding our ellected officials accountable, by holding their feet to the fire every election cycle since less than 30% on average of Americans of voting age even bother too Vote during non presidential elections!). If you want things too change, get out there and vote, know who your voting for and what their values are. If you don’t have one you care too vote for, then go enter your hat in the ring if your able.
      Then our politicians could no longer receive huge lobyist incomes from the defense industry, big pharma, VA employees might get paid trained equally as civilian counterparts, no longer need exorbitant bonus money’s given for perpetuating lousy care standards, benefits of/for veterans.
      Then, maybe, just maybe, there would be enough money left in the VA budget (what actually is PUT in the budget) instead of laws enacted with out financial appropriations made (and lies told to “we the people” about this)

      -then perhaps, just perhaps, we the veterans whom sacrificeed our lives ignorant of all this stuff, so that other “we the peoples” could live out their lives in peace and prosperity,
      -then perhaps we veterans just might get proper medical care and appropriate benefits that we have suposedly earned and deserve…

      If you were lied to at enlistment, if all “promises made” to you in written gov contract(s) with you, were all broken, like; the GI BILL, medical care failing to meet basic civilian standards of care, fair benefits ajudication for true injury conditions, fair and timely access to proper medical care, fair access to voc rehab, fair access to our own medical records, etc, etc, etc…

      I’m talking about the “relatively unknown forms of TBI, like: blast wave TBI, With or With Out Loss of Consciousness, that can Only be diagnosed using Functional MRI or SPECT scans, which the medical establishment gets away with Not Doing…
      (Why is this? Too much to include here…)
      Instead they falsely tell us things like; “it’s all in your head”, “you only have a mental illness”, your making things up”, “there is no proof that event ever happened”.
      All of it done to falsely screw us out of medical care and benefits so they can divert those monies to suit their desires, instead of our needs…
      If you were accepted for service thru MEPS exams, and passed their tests, then you likely did not have a mental ilness, or TBI prior too your service. If you did and got injured, it’s likely your service exacerbated a pre existing condition.

      If your injuries “were aquired in service” , then the VA/We The People, “owes you” in my humble opinion:
      PROPER freaking medical care, and appropriate benefits for your injuries in service…
      Put that in your pipe and smoke it Bernie… And while your at it, try placing yourself in our shoes, think about what it would be like to be forced due to serious “Invisible injurys” to live on less than $24,000 per year, get lousy inadequate medical care, get shit on and shoved into it every time you went to a VA Medical facility for 25 years, and then find out you got shitty care because you were falsely accused of “disruptive behavior”, never informed nor given your constitutional rights of “Due Process”, your medical care was sabotaged all along in retaliation for self advocacy efforts you did in totally appropriate ways, you can’t get legal representation to fight any of this bcuz no lawyers will give you the time of day, you ca not work or hold down even part time employment, have keep or maintain supportive relationships of all manner and description, and then get nothing but Lip service from elected officials whom you learned way back play golf on the weekends with VA employees on the weekends…
      How would you feel, then?

      I just spelled out in clear unmistakable painfully personal terms, for you the readers of my words, exactly what it is, that is driving 22 plus veterans to take their own lives every day, or the countless others whom die needless untimely early deaths, which could also be prevented by legitimate, timely, proper, appropriate, respectful, medical care, that is equal to or the equivalent of, civilian medical care, and appropriate benefits of all manner and description…
      Except for the 70% of VA trained doctors they produce yearly. It’s no small wonder why the civilian medical industry treats us the very same ways, I know, I been getting no where for five years… And what care I have gotten has been undermined at every turn by VA failings to pay the bills on time, long gaps in authorization expires to get them renewed, can’t get access to Medical records to make fully informed decisions about health care matters.

      Give us our dignity back!!!
      Give us the respect owed!!!
      Grant us what you are contractually obligated too provide!!!
      Stop screwing veterans over in nefarious and inappropriate ways, by sabotaging our medical care and benefits, and ajudication of all that entails…

      Thank you;
      ~K-Lar USMC 91-98
      Father USMC 57-59
      Grandfather Army Airborne WWII

      PS: I am Not suicidal Nor homicidal, I just want to be able too live a life Worth Living again, one where I’m not left to rot away in some shit hole in constant chronic pain and or mental anguish/misery with so called medical conditions that according to the VA, “Are Treatable and Curable”, yet you never get treated for properly according to moderate medical facts that any highschool age kid can research and figure out for themselves…

      PPS: my humble apologies for editing mistakes, grammar errors, misspellings, incompleted thoughts, forgotten bits, but I think you get my point.
      But what do I know, I’m only a high school edjumikated jar head, whom was duped out of his GI BILL, was doped up inappropriately for a decade post service by VA on15 did BS meds did more harm than good we’re for wrong friggin diagnosis, and am now too far down the road in my untreated medical conditions, too give a beaver dam about things like proper spelling, etiquette, nor whom the frak I “upset” with my words here, just because, The Truth, Hurts…
      I am a good man, I care deeply about the future of my country, and if you don’t, and or you only think about yourself -first, before any/all others, then I pray that God sees fit to grant you a swift trip to hell when you die, to pay for your own sins in this life when your time finally comes…

      • On the Link Between Concussions and Suicide | Traumatic Brain Injury | JAMA Neurology | JAMA Network
        “https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2712848?widget=personalizedcontent&previousarticle=2735106”

        **Can anybody chime in here on the difference between VA and Civilian medical care as relates to the below article?

        Recovery After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Patients Presenting to US Level I Trauma Centers: A Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) Study | Traumatic Brain Injury | JAMA Neurology | JAMA Network
        “https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2735106”

        **From the below article:
        “…Up to half of all patients experience post injury depression and… (PTSD) in the months after injury, increasing suboptimal recovery, disability, and costs for care…”
        “…only 7 percent of US trauma centers screen for this…” are you kidding me?
        …wtf, over???
        Does anyone else see this as a huge missing link???

        Predicting post-injury depression and PTSD risk — ScienceDaily
        “https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190605133516.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Fptsd+%28PTSD+News+–+ScienceDaily%29”

        **Its not hard to grasp
        That if you have PTSD Symptoms, you may have Sleep Apnea, or a TBI, Yet the VA docs I encountered blew me off about my sleep problems, treatment issues not addressed effectively.
        One “student Psychiatrist in training” actually told me after showing her my sleep apnea results that showed I have only 55 percent Sleep Efficacy, said to me: you have nothing to worry about, your sleep is just fine”…
        I researched my symptoms and totally disagree, considering it leads to all kind of major medical and functional problems I live and cope as best I can with Every Day…
        Below is just one example:

        Good sleep quality and good mood lead to good working memory with age ScienceDaily
        “https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190511083929.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Fsleep_disorders+%28Sleep+Disorders+News+–+ScienceDaily%29”

        Slow walking speed, memory complaints can predict dementia — ScienceDaily
        “https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725144455.htm”

        New imaging technique detects early brain damage from hypertension ScienceDaily
        “https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150917134626.htm”

        **Would sure be nice if I could get my already long time diagnosed Hypertension acknowledged by VA or civy provider (oh wait, I don’t have a PCP, can’t get a durn New one assigned IN MY DAM COMMUNITY) and treatment for it.
        Would have been nice if my long past VA doctor had Bothered to inform me that I had Hypertension or treat me for it, but since I only found out because I got and read my Beaver dam med recs… Hint, hint… And can not get a lawyer to give me the time of day…
        May be why I have untreated memory issues, that 4 Civilian Neurologists are failing too see in my civy records because they can’t get my records mysteriously from my VA because The can’t see My VA records unless I bring them copies of them…
        Might be that if I could get a beaver dam PCP worth a frak that didn’t discriminate on mental health grounds and would accommodate my documented medical need for it due to just my PTSD/comorbid Major persistent Depression, let along Still unevaluated TBI that I keep telling them I definitely do have, but they won’t request any scan, let alone an FMRI, and was recently told “we don’t do those in this neurology Dept, from a “Professor of Neurology, at my civy hospital VA sent me too”, so I said “then send me some freaking place that DOES FMRI’s.
        Response: crickets at first, until I asked pointed questions this Neuro “Professor” then lied to my face about how the usefulness of an FMRI in determining if patients HAVE A TBI FROM BLAST WAVES, EXPLOSIONS, etc etc…
        That care was provided by “Tri-West”/NON VA CARE Dept at a “local hospital” that’s 54 miles away, and the drive always intesifies my Cervical Spine injuries (wintesifies my Cervical Spine injuries (which can also contribute and or cause brain function issues like I’m having, had prior too neck injury in auto accident 1.5 yrs ago, that my PT, Chiro, Acupuncture VA Authorizations for expired can’t get straight answers on so I can continue in my recovery that took the VA 14 Beaver Dam months too authorize just my PT according to my Civy Phyziatrist whom was exasperated about that to.
        Can’t get care needs met IN MY FREAKING COMMUNITY.
        So F’ing Frustrating, it’s no wonder vets are killing themselves left and right…
        I am at the point that VA management of my medical care is causing me more harm than good by far. At this point I feel that VA couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag much less manage my health care.
        And so far Tri West Mission act authorizations have been full of errors, only looking at 5 year old VA records to generate auths, so many errors they are mostly useless, and the local civy admin types are pulling their hair out trying to get things done but can’t…

        **WTF @ POTUS Trump???
        How the Beaver Dam HECK am I supposed to freaking wait for basic Medical care like Physical Therapy, or the reauthorization for it to continue, so I CAN Friggin Continue in my Recovery???

        Dementia can be caused by hypertension — ScienceDaily
        “https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180613101925.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Fintelligence+%28Intelligence+News+–+ScienceDaily%29”

  5. many of us were injured out in the field and treated there but the incidents were never recorded or send to the company back at HQ. So it never happened.

    • I was knocked on my ass by the back blast of a LAW rocket in basic training when some ‘prior-service’ trainee fired prematurely on the range. It tore my strapped on helmet from head, but according to the VA it ‘never happened’ even though 40+ years later I still have a scar on my chin.

    • Someone told me when this happens, to try and find other soldiers who you served with.

      I was told my official military records were distroyed in a fire that occurred in 1973.

      40 years later finding out that those official military records were not distroyed and were sitting on the shelf at the regional office.

      That is what they told me over and over and only after finding an attorney did we discover the va had not told the truth.

      I hired Kenneth Carpenter out of Topeka Kansas and within months I won my disability claim.

      100% permanent and total. Traumatic brain injury 0%, PTSD 100%. I suggest you contact some attorney or they will play you.

  6. If you wrote mom or a significant other that kept the letter about it, it did happen. Or if you can get an affidavit by someone who remembers, like through Classmates.com.

  7. I am happy the VA is recognizing the link between a SCD and other medical issues. This is progress!

    peace out

  8. Could a simple shot be a breakthrough treatment for PTSD?
    “60 Minutes”
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ftx44fCRXH0”

    Former Marine Dakota Meyer tries new PTSD treatment
    “60 Minutes”Overtime
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aD-QrJkWQ”

  9. Shot in the head 1972. Denied treatment. Applied for a service connection disability.

    Denied. Denied. Traumatic Brain injury that I never knew about. Hired an attorney 2002. Told official military records were distroyed in the saint Louis fire.

    Once the attorney became involved with in months I was awarded 100% permanent and total. Since 2002. Shot in 1972.

    Discovered those official military records were not distroyed as stated by the va and were actually sitting on the shelf at the regional office.

    Finely allowed treatment. Seen psychiatrist, psychologist and neurologist, two of them confirmed that I had suffered a traumatic brain injury by viewing the brain scans.

    Dementia. I believe through personal experience, that dementia began the day I was shot in the head in 1972.

    About 2016, I was scheduled to see another Neurologist. This guy was new, when i asked him about my traumatic brain injury he replied and I quote.

    ” The cause of all of your memory problems is due to the fact that you are 65 years old and not the traumatic brain injury.

    I told him What you really mean is that I have been living with the brain of a 65 year old Man. !

    He, just looked puzzled and shocked that I knew better. I had to live with it all those years.

    They know I have a traumatic brain injury and yet not one person has even tried to tell me anything about any treatment for the traumatic brain injury.

    Only v who had to go through this will understand, what the va forces veterans to go through when they intentionally deny veterans disability claims.

    Just for the hell of it.

  10. At my VA, I have gone through Brain Booster Courses, NeuroPsy Evals, tons of medications, CBT classes and I have been told I was self diagnosing, I was malingering and even to young to have Dementia by my own doctors notes. Yet NO ONE EVER did a MRI or CT Scan to disprove my claims, after years of telling them I have memory problems and PTSD/Anxiety symptoms.

    I have been fired from my jobs, I have forgotten bills, conversations, where I place things and even specific events in my life. I have to write down shows I watched and highlight all my reading material, so I remember that I read it.

    The best part was, after I went to go see the Nero doc, this doctor recommended me to try “BRAIN HQ” a neuro/cognitive online training program. Guess what…I had to pay out of my own pocket…NOT the VA.

    I am rated at 70% and still in the VocReab…hoping to be hired full time, while still applying for increased in rating.

    • Correction, I finally DID get a CT Scan and MRI after 10 years, trying to prove my claims. Not only do I have a mild volume loss (Brain Atrophy) but also moderate stable white matter hypertensives.

      • Please read my post above, and look up/Research FUNCTIONAL MRI, SPECT SCANS, Too Know the right /best way too diagnosis TBI actual physical injuries I mean…

  11. Ok , and while this looks like a start nobody dares to speak about iatrogenic dementia: that which is caused by the medications the VA pushed into people, e.g., Pravastatin is a drug that robs the brain of the nutrition it needs and may cause a false diabetic + . Then there is the aggregate effect of 25 meds per day operating on brain tissues affecting almost every area of the body. The Psych drugs alone are extremely dangerous. Take antidepressants and the stopping on your own probably puts you in the high risk category for suicide. Once the VA re-wires your brain chemically, the Govt is off the hook for comp and pen. That’s when the games really start. Anything funded by the DOD should be suspect– these are the boys who burned our medical records and for me, I have no doubt about the workings of the Deep State. They have played every game you can think of and game theorized those games that have yet to be played.

    • Suspicion, it is correct the meds can either reduce functioning or contribute to regaining function. Depends on how long the person stays on the meds and if the med chemical composition is suitable to the individual’s brain composition. Then, too, cognitive impairment and psychosis can start to happen before any medications are even used. Can actually happen to anyone should the wrong stressor and the wrong environment come along. Some could be genetic. Benjamin, I will still show you that this information was known long before now.

      • Brain and body are connected with being all one system in my opinion. Within the one system are subsystems that include all the organ systems. In other words, if a VA provider prescribes Prilosec, this drug can even lead to cognitive decline. This drug is meant to treat the stomach and winds up having negative impact on the brain. Also, even if a patient is given general anesthesia, this can also contribute to cognitive decline. Best to use regional anesthesia such as spinal block or epidural…etc. So some employed among the healthcare system in this country are a bunch of wolves wearing sheep skin clothing over a dollar bill. This includes the pharmaceutical industry too. So yes the VA many times is responsible for veterans regressing.

  12. I have been arguing with the Phx VA over my husband’s behavioral changes that are very relatable to frontal lobe dementia or close symptoms to vascular dementia, they do nothing. Hes had multiple tbi and as well as myself. I go to civilian drs refuse to use va. I get the diagnosis of frontal lobe dementia early onset in my forties due to multiple traumatic brain injuries. I stimulate my brain and fight science, his brain refuses to let him to invite stimuli. I know he lacks further testing but I know im onto something regardless of my situation. Hes worse than I am. Go figure this one out? But they use the person as a science project for information re. Data re medications and statically monitor. They dont care about real medicine. That’s what they do is only practice! Vetrans need to be more aggressive with the medical care as well with anyone. Do all the testing, check all deficiencies, diet changes, and cognitive therapy. Include music and dance stimuli.

  13. For TBI / Head Injury and even ” Dry Drowning ” . Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy [HBOT ] has been used successfully . As you might expect the best is that it is initiated IMMEDIATELY . The compartments that are like a small submarine , are said to be the best .

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