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Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Head Trauma

Following the death of boxing legend Mohammad Ali earlier this summer, there has been a lot of news coverage about Parkinson’s disease in recent weeks.  There has also been a lot of head injury and concussion news as result of the recent movie starring Will Smith, and the injuries we are seeing in professional sports such as in the NFL.

457973__1According to a recent news feature from Time, doctors now have more evidence that there is link between victims of a serious head injury and those who develop Parkinson’s disease and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

As our Boston personal injury attorney can explain, head injuries including traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have lasting effects that result in the need for a lifetime of medical expenses, and this is the reason that juries are willing to award such high damages in many cases where there is a traumatic brain injury.

This particular study was performed by researchers at the University of Washington and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology edition. Doctors and researchers conducting the study looked at data from over 7,000 elderly Americans who lived in several areas in the United States. All of the people had suffered head injury at some point during their life, which resulted from being knocked unconscious for some period of time.

Due to their head injuries, they were required to have regular cognitive evaluations to see if there were any issues as result of the accidents. Some of the people would eventually suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s other forms of dementia.  While there are many people who end up suffering from these conditions who have never suffered a head injury, there were clearly an increase in the number of these patients who suffered from Parkinson’s disease as compared to those who had never suffered from a head injury of which they were aware.

As for actual increase, they reported that person who suffered a head injury was 3.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than a patient who had not suffered serious head injury at some point in their respective lifetimes. What makes this somewhat more concerning is the definition of a serious head injury.  According to researchers and medical experts, it is a head injury that resulted in a loss of consciousness, even momentarily.  This is much different than what people believed for years when someone gets “knocked out” and they were given smelling salts to wake them back up.  Smelling salts are generally not used anymore, since it is believed to be dangerous to revive someone before they naturally awaken. There are even cases where they find the need to keep people in medically induced comas until they are able to safely attempt to revive a patient.

It should be noted that there is a difference between a head injury as defined above and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) condition, which is what are seeing with football players and were the subject of the movie recently released. This condition involves repetitive mild head injuries that do not necessarily result in a loss of consciousness.

If you have suffered head trauma or other personal injury in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Parkinson’s Head Trauma Link Looks Even Stronger, July 11, 2016, Time, By Alice Park

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