Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PTSD and dementia: More study needed to determine why veterans with PTSD are more at risk than others

Date:
August 31, 2010
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
Results of a recent study suggest that Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a greater risk for dementia than Veterans without PTSD, even those who suffered traumatic injuries during combat.

Results of a study reported in the September issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggest that Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a greater risk for dementia than Veterans without PTSD, even those who suffered traumatic injuries during combat.

Exposure to life threatening events, like war, can cause PTSD, and there are high rates among veterans. PSTD includes symptoms such as avoiding things or people that remind a person of the trauma, nightmares, difficulty with sleep, and mood problems.

"We found Veterans with PTSD had twice the chance for later being diagnosed with dementia than Veterans without PTSD," said Mark Kunik, M.D., M.P.H., a psychiatrist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Texas, USA, and senior author of the article. "Although we cannot at this time determine the cause for this increased risk, it is essential to determine whether the risk of dementia can be reduced by effectively treating PTSD. This could have enormous implications for Veterans now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."

The study included 10,481 Veterans at least 65 years of age who had been seen at the VA Medical Centre at least twice between 1997 and 1999. Outpatient data were gathered for all identified patients until 2008. Subjects who had been wounded during combat (with and without a PTSD diagnosis) were also identified to provide a group with confirmed injuries and combat experience. A group with two visits, but no PTSD or combat related injuries, was identified for purposes of comparison.

36.4% of the Veterans in this study had PTSD. 11.1% of those with PTSD but not injured, and 7.2% of those with PTSD and injured, had dementia, compared to 4.5% and 5.9% respectively in the non-PTSD groups. These results remained significant after other risk factors of dementia were taken into account like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, etc.

"Despite the increased risk for those with PTSD, it is noteworthy that most Veterans with PTSD did not develop dementia during the period we studied," said Salah Qureshi, M.D., a staff psychiatrist and investigator with the Houston VA Center of Excellence and first author of the article."It will be important to determine which Veterans with PTSD are at greatest risk and to determine whether PTSD induced by situations other than war injury is also associated with greater risk."

The authors note there could be several explanations for their findings. It could be that cognitive impairment in PTSD is an early marker of dementia, having PTSD makes one more likely to get dementia, or PTSD and dementia have some characteristics in common. They emphasize the need for further study with a broader sample in the civilian population.

In an editorial accompanying this paper, Dr. Soo Borson of the University of Washington Medical Centre, Washington, highlights the need for further research to explain the association and also the wider significance of these findings, "Confirmation of a causal link between PTSD and cognitive impairment in late life would have enormous global implications in a world facing a rising societal burden of dementia, a shrinking workforce to sustain its economies, and the difficulties of containing human violence. Soldiers and other U.S. war veterans are just one of many groups exposed to deeply traumatizing experiences with lifetime effect."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Qureshi SU et al. Greater Prevalence and Incidence of Dementia in Older Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2010 DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02977.x
  2. Borson S. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Dementia: A Lifelong Cost of War? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2010 DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03050.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "PTSD and dementia: More study needed to determine why veterans with PTSD are more at risk than others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073805.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2010, August 31). PTSD and dementia: More study needed to determine why veterans with PTSD are more at risk than others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073805.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "PTSD and dementia: More study needed to determine why veterans with PTSD are more at risk than others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073805.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins