A recent study in Finland establishes that a severe head injury, especially during middle age, could dramatically increase the risk for developing dementia later in life.
The study included 40,639 Finnish adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who had been hospitalized with mild, moderate or severe brain injury. The injuries occurred between 1987 and 2014. The researchers followed the study participants for about 11 years.
The 20,703 mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients were hospitalized for less than a day and the 19,936 moderate to severe TBI patients had be hospitalized for a minimum of three days.
Interestingly, an above average dementia risk was seen among all of the TBI patients but, the investigators found that the moderate to severe group faces substantially higher risks than the mild group.
The largest increase in risk was seen amongst those who had a TBI between the ages of 41 and 50. Their odds of suffering future dementia were nearly triple those of someone with a mild brain injury. For those who had a TBI between ages 51 and 60, the risk of dementia was doubled.
More people in the moderate to severe group also developed dementia before the age of 65 (40%) compared to those in the mild group (26%). The study concluded that those persons with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury had a 90% increased probability of developing dementia compared to persons with mild traumatic brain injury.
One of the challenges in advocating for an injured victim is to ensure he or she receives fair payment for not only past harms but also potential future harms and losses which may come to pass years after the litigation ends.
Most claims for injuries resolve within an average of two to four years following an injury either by way of settlement or trial verdict. In any instance in which the injury is a permanent one, the victim faces potential future harms such as a reduced earning capacity, medical costs and loss of the pleasures of life and pain.
The trial lawyer must prove what those future harms will be so the victim will be fully compensated. Therefore, when a victim has suffered a moderate to severe brain injury, the potential future harm of dementia must be considered and, if possible, proven with the help of an expert witness.
If you or a family member has suffered a severe brain injury, it is important that your lawyer has strong foundation in understanding the long-term significance of such an injury.