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Latent Long-Term Effects

A long-term effect of an injury is a consequence of the injurious exposure that presents symptoms at some point in the future. Long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury are difficult to pinpoint, but research suggests that there may be a link to the onset of several neurodegenerative diseases years after the TBI occurs. Whether mild or severe, all TBIs may increase the risk of latent neurodegenerative diseases, and can cause one or a combination of:

  • Foggy thinking.
  • Memory loss.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Personality changes.

Possible long-term neurodegenerative outcomes after TBIs:

  • Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Parkinson's Disease.
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

There's existing evidence suggesting that pathological changes triggered by an earlier TBI may not actually cause Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, but may interfere with the brain's normal aging process and exacerbate the diseases.

TBI is one of the most complex brain disorders to understand, and one of the most difficult to treat. Ongoing research into the workings of TBI may help solve the many puzzles surrounding symptoms affecting hundreds of thousands of service members, and lead to more effective diagnosis, management, and treatment of the long-term effects of TBI.  

Last Updated: December 11, 2023
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