Moderate TBI

Veterans With Moderate TBI Four Times More Likely To Develop Dementia

A new study published in the journal JAMA Neurology shows military veterans with even mild TBI are at increased risk of dementia. Veterans with moderate TBI to severe are four times more likely to develop dementia than veterans without a history of TBI.

Research led by Deborah Barnes conducted by San Francisco VA Health Care System and the University of California at San Francisco studied veterans who experienced at least one mild TBI in the military. They searched VA databases and found 178,779 patients that fit into the criteria of the study from 2001 to 2014.

RELATED: IG Finally Releases TBI Investigation Report

As one would expect, the higher the severity of the TBI, the higher the risk of dementia later in life. Veterans with moderate to severe TBI are four times more likely to develop the condition.

In the study, 46 percent of veterans with TBI were classified as having a moderate or severe episode. Ten percent in the sample experienced a mild TBI without any loss of consciousness. Thirteen percent had a mild TBI that did result in loss of consciousness of 30 minutes or less. Another 31 percent were diagnosed with mild TBI but the records did not indicate whether or not the veteran lost consciousness.

RELATED: Understanding TBI And Medical Literature For Disability Claims

“This study provides the best information to date that military veterans are at risk for dementia as a consequence of injuries sustained during their service to the United States,” wrote Dr. Kimbra Kenney of the U.S. Uniformed Services University and Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia of the University of Pennsylvania’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center.

The reason for the increased risk is unknown at this time. However, the researchers hypothesized the inflammation and loss of white matter that follows a TBI create a more fertile environment for the amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles associated with dementia.

RELATED: Veterans Getting Screwed In TBI Exams

As an aside, the value in the VA database is the uninterrupted receipt of healthcare of millions of veterans until 2014. The dataset experienced diminished value when veterans secured access to community healthcare but it still retains research value beyond most similar datasets for research purposes.


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  1. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

    K-Lar, I hear ya man, hey, you do what works best for you. Only you know whats best, your post is not confusing at all. The system sucks no doubt, and takes way to long to set things right. Your getting there slowly, never give up, you’ll get there. I think they do this shit on purpose to, discourage Veterans from moving forward. President Reagan didn’t need to go to Russia to find the “Evil Empire”, it’s right here in our own back yard, called the DOD, AFGE, VA. the original axis of EVIL.

    Have a great day K-Lars, peace.

  2. “Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.” -Eckhart Tolle

    1.) [“MicroRNAs can be measured in blood as proxies for mild traumatic brain injury — ScienceDaily”

    2.) “Metabolon to Provide Metabolomic Profiling for the U.S. Veterans Administration Million Veteran Program”

    3.) “‘We should see if it works’: Lawmakers want Veterans Affairs to study whether pot is safer than painkillers – The Washington Post”

    4.) “Imaging predicts long-term effects in veterans with brain injury — ScienceDaily”

    5.) “Brain injury patterns linked to post-concussion depression, anxiety — ScienceDaily”

    6.) “Older patients recover more slowly from concussion — ScienceDaily”

    7.) “Traumatic brain injury in veterans: Differences from civilians may affect long-term care — ScienceDaily”

    8.) “Mild traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects for families — ScienceDaily”

    9.) “Mild traumatic brain injury causes long-term damage in mice — ScienceDaily”

    10.) “Researchers chart a new way to look at concussion — ScienceDaily”

    “Forget about your life situation and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is now. Your life situation is mind-stuff. Your life is real.” -Eckhart Tolle

    1. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

      K-Lar, I like the links your providing, very helpful, thank you.
      As far as Eckhart Tolle? You do know he is a Con-Artists right?

      ” I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.” Eckhart Tolle

      Then he says he sat on park benched for a few years, just watching life go by, when he thought “me, myself, and I” and he discovered he had an inner self? Hogwash, and now he is a millionaire selling all forms of his B.S. to naive unhappy people all around the world.

      I have read 5 different versions of this that he has told in his own words. What he is really about is picking your pockets. Sorry for being so rude, but I really have a disdained hate for people like him, and the likes of Tony Robbins.

      Remember this, Mother Teresa helped more people in one month then the two people above did combined in their entire life, and Mother Teresa never charged and entrance fee to help anyone. Just food for thought.

      1. @CJ; Thank you, I am not offended. I am grateful for your insights, info offered, has brought me more clarity on questions I had about some of Tolle’s works.
        I included them because they helped me get thru ruff times by making sense of some things I couldn’t make sense of otherwise, due to brain fog, depression, anxieties, from years of psych meds I didn’t need, that did not help, mostly only harmed me Greatly, and left me in worse shape than when I first sought care for depression in mid 97′ while at an independent duty station away from military medical care.
        You see, My 1st wife, a navy veteran w a very difficult situation of her own, medically and psych, attempted suicide twice, couldn’t pull her weight, drug me down while caring for her, w little to no help from my command, the VA, or any other sources. Long story…
        Turns out what I actually had, since mid 90’s, was undiagnosed PTSD. Finally got a proper evaluation for that aprox 18 months ago, now severe.
        VA Claim now pending decision. Hopefully that will “set a-right” 20 years of misdiagnosises, improper treatment methods for the wrong diagnosis’s, mismanagement of care, neglect, malpractice, etc, etc
        I strongly suspect my PTSD stems from a mild-moderate TBI. Factor in 15+ psych meds the VA “Drs in training” duped me into taking between 97-07, and you get the jist of my situation.
        Gives you some idea what I’ve been thru at least. {Cognitive/memory issues makes it hard for me to stay on task, keep my thoughts on track, sorry if confusing, doing my best.}
        Because of all that crap, and the many life’s misadventures I’d expd, I sought out all manner of things to help me make sense of things, w few if any answers.
        Agreed Robbins wasn’t so helpful to me either.
        Tolle may well be all you say, idk honestly, only feel that some of his sayings make some sense, more than other things I’ve found less helpful in my travels.

  3. “Every fragment of self-talk is a little story in the head that goes around, and then you look at reality through the lens of the little story.” -Eckhart Tolle

    1.) “American Brain Foundation”

    2.) “How the stress hormone cortisol reinforces traumatic memories — ScienceDaily” “”

    3.) “Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause brain damage — ScienceDaily”

    4.) “First-of-its-kind study explains why rest is critical after a concussion — ScienceDaily”

    5.) “Brain scans may help diagnose neurological, psychiatric disorders: Study shows that brain networks reliably track individuals over time — ScienceDaily”

    6.) “Traumatic brain injury – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic”

    7.) “Veterans with blast traumatic brain injury may have unrecognized pituitary dysfunction — ScienceDaily” “”

    8.) “MRI shows ‘brain scars’ in military personnel with blast-related concussion — ScienceDaily”

    9.) “In military personnel, no difference between blast- and nonblast-related concussions — ScienceDaily”

    10.) “Single dose protects cognitive function after mild traumatic brain injury — ScienceDaily”

    “When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do and with it the quality of your life increases dramatically” -Eckhart Tolle

  4. The Brain Testcom looks like a scam to me If you read the costs it s a company that is preying on vets with TBI already with brain damage. I being one who was drawn to thinking of getting an exam to say yes my TBI is leading to dementia. For i am already thefe a long time ago. It irks me to see so eone trying to scam fellow vets with TBI. I am very angry over it. For not only tne VA said i was lying when i to,d them about the helicopter crash they asked me if i ever tried to kill myself in front of my son. And i stupidly shoeed my scarx on my hands. I waled out after i gained my thoughts for i didnot want my son see me loose it but it scared me deeply all iver again. This is only a tip of the iceberg for how i have been treatec.

  5. “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” Eckhart Tolle

    1.) “Head injuries can alter hundreds of genes and lead to serious brain diseases — ScienceDaily”

    2.) “Veterans with Moderate TBI Four Times More Likely to Develop Dementia”

    3.) “Locus coeruleus activity linked with hyperarousal in PTSD: First human evidence for a decades-old theory — ScienceDaily”

    4.) “Why people become more prone to distraction with age: A specific brain network, the locus coeruleus, that controls our ability to focus while under stress appears to weaken as we age, interfering with our ability to focus — ScienceDaily” “–+ScienceDaily%29”

    5.) “One dose of antidepressants ‘alters the brain within hours'”

    6.) “Potential for more precise diagnosis and treatment of TBI — ScienceDaily”

    7.) “Functional neuroimaging” “”

    8.) “Brain connectivity changes with working memory after TBI: Novel TBI study shows causal relationship between CapMan tasks of working memory and fronto-parietal regions — ScienceDaily”

    9.) “Loss of brain synchrony may explain working memory limits, says study — ScienceDaily”

    10.) “On her deathbed, whistleblower described substandard care at Northampton VA”

    “To awaken means to awaken out of the self-talk in the head because the self-talk is a form of hypnosis – self hypnosis.” Eckhart Tolle

  6. Ft. Harrison is still using general MD’s to do C&P evaluations for TBI’s and conditions associated with TBI, such as headaches, Menieres, sleep apnea, motor conditions etc. I had a C&P for Menieres at the Great Falls Montana CBOC in April and got a GP to do the evaluation. I had a nexus letter from a private ENT stating that the Menieres was service connected. This quack is getting a reputation as the GO TO doctor when the VA wants a denial for a claim.
    They are ignoring §4.124a Schedule of ratings—neurological conditions and convulsive disorders especially 8045.

  7. Had a concussion playing football in high school. Have had attention and short term memory problem since. Was diagnosed and treated for ADD afterwards. On the bright side, I was told I played the best game of my career. To bad I can’t remember it and the next 24 hours. Can I get treatment for this at the VA, even though it’s probably not gonna be SC? Might have bee aggrevated by a fall during service.

  8. The Department of Defense and the VA were aware of this for many years now, which is why both agencies often denied claims for TBI, or shortchanged Veterans by labeling them with mild TBI, when they really had moderate or severe TBI.

    Dementia would certainly qualify as a secondary rated condition attributable to TBI, and for those who are rated for TBI – now that the VA has admitted to this, then you no longer need to prove there is a connection… as it is now presumed. Let’s just hope that they are motivated to partner with leading universities to find a cure… if not, then I guess troops are just expendable and disposable assets – each generation will produce a new batch of recruits. In the meantime… Delay, Deny, Stall, and wait for Veterans to die – remember, we are less than 1% of the nation!

  9. Looking forward to reading the complete study but note that Ben included the statements that the value in the VA database is the uninterrupted receipt of healthcare of millions of veterans until 2014. The dataset experienced diminished value when veterans secured access to community healthcare but it still retains research value beyond most similar datasets for research purposes.

    Given Dementia is a known side effects of a many of medications that are prescribed by the VA. Medicines taken for depression, asthma, allergies, and other conditions have been shown to raise the risk of Dementia. Given the VA’s use of approved meds for each conditions and the fact that they choose not to include Veterans records from Veterans who received care outside the VA system. Points to a possible link to the VA’s limited National Formulary as a possible contributing factor in their findings.

    Also given the way that any Veteran claiming a TBI receivng care through the VA during the period used in the study. Were almost assured of being depressed possibly to the point of needing meds for anti-depression. Which would almost certainly raise their risk of dementia from the meds alone.

  10. Very interesting comment about the research stopping at 2014 Ben. Are you assuming this is why it stopped? Or do you have information from somewhere else saying this? I ask because it suggests the VA is not collecting any treatment records generated by a “community care” or Choice appointment. Given how anal the VA us on authorizations, I could see this going both ways. The VA not collecting the records, or the VA doing a sloppy job of getting what they do collect. I have been told the VA gets all those records.

    I also find it interesting that there are two databases showing this information. Is that information available to VA providers? Is that information available to claims adjudicators?

    Do any veterans whose claim was denied because of unqualified TBI examiners show up in this database?

    1. @91,
      On your 2014 question:
      The way I take the referenced “” article, is that mention of Community Care. If i’m on the right track… isn’t that when Choice began?

      1. @Rosie:
        Rosie; you are correct, choice program began in 2014, I was in it then.

        My exps w Choice program, for all:

        I demanded Non VA Medical care at a 2013(?) Town Hall Meeting, from both the Hosp Director and Chief of Staff directly.
        I was given verbal Authorization on the spot for Choice, for “due causes”; multiple serious failures in my health care”, because of previous long history (dating back to mid 1997 while still on active duty no less) of lousy psych care by multiple inexperienced “student Drs in training” at a VA hosp in South west Virginia.
        It Still took them 5-6 months for me to be seen, while suffering needlessly because of multiple VA “Drs” botched care for sciatic pain treatment, mental health care, etc, etc, etc…
        I was given no official instruction manual to use choice and very little verbal instructions, only a few items that the “Non VA Care guy” scrawled on a writting pad, handed to me, then promptly sent me out the door (VA security guard “just happened to show up” to chat w that non VA care guy “mysteriously” while i was talking to him). I was scratching my head thinking idk about this…
        Oh the stories I could tell about my “journey through VA care”…

    2. @91,
      Here’s the link for the JAMA Neurology article that this all stems from.

    3. @91Veteran;
      Agree w you on your questions of why the research stopped in 2014 “mysteriously”.
      I do know from my exps that all my non VA care providers were required to submit my treatment records w in 7 days of apts, in order for them to get paid by VA.
      I suspect VA didn’t want to include non VA care “data” because it would show that VA care is not what it’s cracked up to be, and would heavily skew research results, and possibly expose more of the lousy care VA was providing to unsuspecting, vulnerable veterans.
      Further, @ your comment: “I also find it interesting that there are two databases showing this information. Is that information available to VA providers? Is that information available to claims adjudicators?”:
      I strongly believe it is available to both VA providers (whom don’t have the time to go over it, or only “use” what suits their “purposes”.
      I requested a copy of my Claim-File few months ago, and no non VA care docs were in it, tho my claim was decided back in 2007, was “cherry picked” heavily, only one item approved out of 8+ I had claimed. No lawyers would help w appeal, out of over 50+ I’ve contacted, only 2 called me back, was blown off entirely by them.

  11. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

    Ben, you have this alllllllllllll wrongggggg, it’s not TBI, nor DEMENTIA, its……….”a personality disorder” just ask the VA quacks. Dementia,,,,, thats a what you a get, when a you measure with an Italian tape rule.

    Acording to the VA:
    No LOC= no TBI
    If LOC=Vet is a liar
    Constant headaches after explosion= Vet had an ear infection
    Constant ringing in ears=backs up, quacks opinion, Vet had ear infection
    Anger issues, after exposion= Vet is an asshole
    Self medicating= Vet abuses drugs, and that caused the LOC, headaches, ringing in ears, and why the Vet is a is a lying asshole…………….makes perfect sense.

    I have one more for the VA, its called “INDUENDO”, incase any of you VA assholes are wondering what that is, its an Italian suppository, and you know exactly where you can stick it.

    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…\………. _.·´

    1. LMAO! So very true!!! -everything you said.
      [yes, im that dude from Storm 8 games from years ago…(¿•) ]
      Semper Fidelis
      USMC 91-98

  12. These brain syndromes don’t develop only from TBI. Victims of p. falciparum malaria (aka cerebral malaria) suffer the same consequences but are neither treated properly nor compensated. I’m not one but included them in my fight for organic brain syndrome directed treatment and compensation campaign since 1987. Court filings in the District Court for the Central District of CA when letter writing got nowhere. Street demonstration in DC when the Courts dismissed our case. Finally in 2008 a reporter picked up the story but only attributed it to TBI from IEDs.

    In Vietnam those were included in what was called a booby trap. The biggest I’ve heard about was the blowing off of a hill side onto the Exchange in Danang. Probably the equivalent of the Oklahoma City bombing.

    And if you think anything is going to happen if the doers drop out and let only the ranters and whiners face the national reticence on helping veterans in their plights forget it.

  13. Seemore, See what Senator Feinstein can accomplish. It takes constant push because there is so much resistance to creating more “entitlements” in spite of authorizing laws. This study will help turn up the heat on Congress to do what is right by TBI victims.

  14. Additional information corresponding with today’s blog!!!!!!

    “VA Finalizes Rule Paying Special Monthly Compensation to Some With TBI!”

    From: “”
    Dated; “7 May 2018”
    By: Jim Absher

    “You may have heard about the VA’s Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) or Aid and Attendance benefit.”

    “SMC is compensation paid in addition to regular disability compensation to a veteran who, as a result of military service, incurred the loss or loss of use of specific organs or extremities.
    loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot
    immobility of a joint or paralysis
    loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception)
    loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ
    complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks
    deafness of both ears (having absence of air and bone conduction)
    inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia)
    loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment!”

    “LAW CHANGED IN 2010”

    “The Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 authorized the VA to pay SMC to some veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and its residual effects. This change was effective October 1, 2011.”

    “The VA had been paying SMC to TBI veterans based on non-regulatory guidance, which basically meant that veterans could get the SMC benefit if they suffered from TBI, but it was difficult and often required an appeal to get approved.”


    “Well, according to a rule published in the Federal Register, the VA will begin paying SMC for veterans with TBI on June 7, 2018.”

    “This applies to veterans with TBI who are in need of aid and attendance, and without such aid and attendance would need hospitalization, nursing home care, or other residential institutional care.”

    “To be considered in need of aid & attendance, a veteran must be:”

    “unable to dress/undress without assistance
    unable to keep clean and presentable without assistance
    unable to feed or care for themselves without assistance.”
    “Those suffering from TBI and eligible for SMC will get SMC at the R.2 or T rate.”

  15. From: “” via “Stars and Stripes”
    Dated: 8 May 2018

    “House Committee Approves Extensive VA Reform Deal”

    By Nikki Wentling

    “WASHINGTON — House lawmakers on Tuesday advanced major reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs that include an extensive overhaul of the agency’s private-sector care programs — a deal delayed by intense negotiations for more than a year.”

    “The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted 20-2 to send the legislation to the full House. The bill, titled the VA Mission Act, would alter eligibility criteria for veterans to access private-sector health care, extend benefits for veteran caregivers and initiate a review of VA infrastructure, among other changes. The bill would cost $51 billion over a five-year period, according to preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office…!”

    This isn’t the full article. It continues on.
    Locate and read!

  16. As stated in this paragraph from the “” referenced article, the key word is DIAGNOSED.

    “The team members scoured two large government databases to identify every patient treated by the Veterans Health Administration who was diagnosed with any kind of TBI during a 13-year period between 2001 and 2014. They found 178,779 such patients.”

    1. @Rosie: “the key word is DIAGNOSED”;
      1.) How many vets are “diagnosed” with mental ilnesses, but are never examined or evaluated for a TBI condition?
      (I am one of those. I’ve asked many times of many VA “Drs” too be evaluated over 2+ decades, was blown off in every instance, not taken seriously. Wondering if others have had this problem…)
      2.) How many of those vets even know that being in a blast zone or in the cone of a cannons blast (main gun, 120MM, on an Abrams tank as I was thanks to a dumb, arrogant young officer in charge) can cause a TBI?
      (not many are aware of this I fear…)

      Lastly, please see the 3 lists of related article links i placed at bottom of comments.
      Thank you for your insights, compassion and understanding, as your comments are valued by me, as are all those Comments from all the “regular posters” over the past 5 + years, has helped me Greatly, thank you all… 🙂

  17. This will only serve to benefit the National Felon League (NFL), not so much the nonhuman test subjects the studies have their cleats dug into.

    1. I was thinking about that nam. There won’t be any outrage or concern shown over this study at the same level as a former NFL player committing suicide.

      There won’t be some movie made about a VA doctor pushing for proper care of these vets.

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