Even a mild head injury, commonly called a concussion, makes veterans more likely to get Parkinson’s disease later on in life, a new study shows. This is the same type of injury suffered by many Americans on the sports field or in a motor vehicle crash each year.
A group of 165,000 veterans with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) were found to have a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease, compared to other veterans of the same age.
The link between severe head injury and Parkinson’s disease was already known, but the most important finding was that even mild head injuries can increase this risk. Half of the veterans in the study had only a mild head injury, and this group was 56 percent more likely to receive a Parkinson’s diagnosis than those with no TBI. The risk increased more in those with a head injury classified as severe.