Could traumatic brain injury accelerate the onset of Parkinson’s disease?

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Author: Sarah McGrathPublished: 13 January 2022

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Undergoing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) – a sudden injury that damages the brain – may be linked to Parkinson’s onset at an earlier age, new research suggests.

The study, led by researchers in the US, examined data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Centre (NACC) database and assessed whether TBI was associated with age of disease onset, survival and the degeneration of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain.

They found that while there was no significant association with age of death or greater impact on dopamine-producing nerve cells, results showed that TBI was linked to a 4.9-year earlier age of Parkinson’s onset.

Reflecting on the results, the researchers wrote that traumatic brain injury “appears to accelerate Parkinson’s onset without altering age of death”. However, the researchers also cautioned that “the nature of this relationship remains unclear”.


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