Risk factors for dementia in veterans

The experience of war can leave emotional and physical scars on those who serve in the military - scars that are visible years, even decades after service. Military service-related Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are common in veterans, and researchers are trying to find out how these conditions play a part in veterans' risk for neurodegenerative disorders - including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

To elevate the dialogue on military risk factors for dementia, the Alzheimer's Association convened a discussion group to identify gaps in knowledge that could inform future investigations and clinical trials. The results of this meeting were published online in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association on Nov. 8.

Heather Snyder, Ph.D., senior director of Medical and Scientific Operations at the Alzheimer's Association and corresponding author of this paper says the main points of the paper include:

  • The lack of funding in this space and the need for collaboration across all sectors of government, military and the scientific community
  • The need to study the difference between TBI-caused dementia and dementia caused independently.
  • The need to study biomarkers to better understand the long-term consequences of TBI.
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