There has been considerable public interest in the topic of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a risk factor for development of late-life dementia. A review was performed on empirical studies examining the relationship between these two conditions. Although results from a number of studies clearly demonstrate that TBI is a positive risk factor for developing dementia, there are an equivalent number of studies that obtain inconclusive or negative findings. Inconsistencies across studies are often the result of methodological findings including the nature of the investigational design, choice of comparison groups, and criteria used to define cases. In many studies, the diagnosis of TBI is obtained retrospectively in a manner that is subject to bias. Accurate identification of dementia cases is often compromised by the use of inappropriately brief follow-up periods and variations in diagnostic methods. There remains no universally accepted neurobiological mechanism to explain the transition from acute TBI to the chronic effects of dementia. Studies of specialty populations, including athletes and military personnel are beset by secular and cohort effects, raising questions about the applicability of findings to the general population. No existing studies have been able to exclude the possible effects of confounding medical or lifestyle factors in facilitating the onset of dementia following TBI. Although the research findings suggest a general association between TBI and dementia, the specifics of the relationship remain poorly defined.© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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