Memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral and personality changes are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease – a progressive and degenerative brain disorder. Even while the exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet entirely understood, research has found a number of risk factors that could raise a person’s chance of getting the illness. This blog explains the link between head trauma, PTSD, and Alzheimer’s risk.
How head trauma and PTSD may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s?
Head trauma, which is any injury to the head that causes a change in awareness or cognitive function, is one of these risk factors. Various incidents, such as falls, automobile accidents, and sports injuries, can be the common causes. Although brain injuries can happen at any age, they seem to happen more frequently among young people and those who participate in high-risk activities.
Another factor increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). An individual may suffer a traumatic incident, such as a natural disaster, military battle, or physical or sexual assault, resulting in PTSD. Hallucinations, anxiety, and trouble sleeping are a few of its symptoms.
According to research, having PTSD as well as head trauma may make you more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers discovered that those with a history of head trauma had a higher risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease than people without such a history in a study that was published in the Journal of American Medical Association.
Similarly, a review of various researches indicated that those with PTSD had a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease than people without PTSD. This analysis was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
It is unclear how head trauma, PTSD, and the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease are related. According to one idea, these disorders may cause changes in the brain that raise the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Another hypothesis holds that PTSD and head injuries may boost the effect of genetic variations on the development of Alzheimer’s.
The role of genetic variants in Alzheimer’s risk
Small changes in a person’s DNA called genetic variants can influence their chance of contracting particular diseases. Different genetic variations, including those in the APOE, CLU, and CR1 genes, have been linked in studies to an elevated risk of dementia.
Apolipoprotein E, a protein that plays a role in the metabolism of lipids in the brain, is produced as a result of the APOE gene. The APOE4 variant is one of several genetic variations linked to an elevated risk of dementia according to the latest research. But not everyone who carries the APOE4 mutation will get Alzheimer’s.
According to recent studies, PTSD and head injuries may magnify the effect of genetic variations on the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers discovered that people with a history of head trauma who held the APOE4 variant had a greater chance of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease than people who did not carry the variant, according to a study published in the journal Brain.
A similar study indicated that those with PTSD who had the APOE4 mutation had a greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease than people without the variant. This research was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The relationship between head trauma, PTSD, and the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s is complex and little understood overall. To further understand how these factors may boost the effects of genetic variations on dementia risk and to find potential therapies that may lower this risk, more study is required. However, it is evident that these are significant risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and should be taken into account when determining a person’s risk for the condition.