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Dementia After Traumatic Brain Injury

A person who is suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as a TBI, may experience mild or significant short-term memory loss. However, loss of short-term memory does not mean that the individual is automatically a candidate for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

A lengthy Comatose State May Cause More Severe Symptoms

Whether a person develops mild, moderate or severe short-term memory loss may depend on how long the individual is in a coma after an accident takes place. The odds of developing severe short-term memory loss is greater for the person who is in a comatose state for over 24 hours. These individuals may suffer from anterior grade amnesia which prevents them from remembering many events that have taken place after the accident occurred. However, every case is different.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Differ from Person to Person

One person may have been in a serious automobile accident causing a comatose state for over a week and still end up as a relatively healthy individual with the intellect fully intact. This individual may exhibit excellent physical health while experiencing cognitive problems associated with short-term memory loss. However, a person with short-term memory loss does not necessarily forget everything.

Repetition Boosts Short-Term Memory in Some Individuals

Constant repetition can help a person to remember many recent events. However, even when an individual remembers specific things that have taken place within the past few months, the person may have difficulty remembering what he or she ate for breakfast or dinner on a specific day. Although researchers have their own various opinions, they still do not know exactly what will happen to these individuals. According to Mayo Clinic, numerous people who have traumatic brain injuries never experience Alzheimer’s disease because the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene may play a significant role. An individual with a traumatic brain injury who does not carry this gene may have a greater chance of avoiding symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

A Brain Injury is not Necessarily Related To Dementia

When thinking about a person who has a traumatic brain injury, it is important to note that short-term memory loss related to a traumatic brain injury is not necessarily the same thing as dementia. Some extremely high functioning individuals with traumatic brain injuries live fairly normal lifestyles, are in excellent physical health and are capable of performing many tasks. In addition, researchers generally admit that they do not know a great deal about the mysteries of the brain.

A Healthy Lifestyle can Make a Difference

The general consensus is that the brain benefits from various physical and mental activities. A person who eats a healthy diet, gets plenty of physical exercise, reads books and plays challenging, stimulating brain games may find that short-term memory does not get worse. In fact, this individual may even experience mild memory improvement varying from day to day. Another thing to consider is that short-term memory loss occurring in the mind affected by a traumatic brain injury does not inevitably mimic the symptoms typically associated with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Short-Term Memory Loss in a TBI Versus Alzheimer’s Disease

A person with a traumatic brain injury may recognize close relatives and friends, know about current political issues and keep up with the latest news stories. An individual with an advanced case of Alzheimer’s disease may not recognize family members or understand current issues and important events taking place in the world. Another important thing to remember is that an individual with a TBI still has the ability to fall in love and share his or her life with another person.



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