HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Military risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease

Article

This article examines how signature injuries such as Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias.

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. A meeting hosted by the Alzheimer's Association and the Veterans' Health Research Institute (NCIRE) in May 2012 brought together experts from the U.S. military and academic medical centers around the world to discuss current evidence and hypotheses regarding the pathophysiological mechanisms linking TBI, PTSD, and AD. Studies underway in civilian and military populations were highlighted, along with new research initiatives such as a study to extend the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) to a population of veterans exposed to TBI and PTSD. Greater collaboration and data sharing among diverse research groups is needed to advance an understanding and appropriate interventions in this continuum of military injuries and neurodegenerative disease in the aging veteran.

Full Reference

Weiner, M.W., Friedl, K.E., Pacifico, A., Chapman, J.C., Jaffee, M.S., Little, D.M., Manley, G.T., McKee, A., Petersen, R.C., Pitman, R.K., Yaffe, K., Zetterberg, H., Obana, R., Bain, L.J., Carrillo, M.C.. 2013. Military risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. 9:4, 445-451.