Can injuries sustained in war - traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's Disease? That is the central question of study being launched at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Since 2001, more than two million service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and studies show nearly a third of them have suffered TBI, PTSD, or both. Geriatric psychiatrist Anton Porsteinsson, M.D. is overseeing the study at URMC. He says both types of injuries cause changes to the brain that may lead to Alzheimer's Disease later in life. " We are particularly interested in the interaction between aging and these two conditions. We know that in the Afghan and Iraqi theater war veterans who have been exposed to blast injuries, have had brain injuries or PTSD, that there are changes in the brain, on imaging."
If the study proves a link between memory disease and brain injury, Dr. Porsteinsson says it may result in the call for further research related to the treatment and prevention of the long-term effects of these injuries.
The URMC study is looking for volunteers from within a 150-mile radius of Rochester. The participants should be Vietnam War veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or both, but with no shrapnel still in certain parts of the body, and no current diagnosis of dementia.
Those interested in taking part in the study should call (585) 760-6550 or 1 (800) 773-4883