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Risk of dementia increased among female veterans with TBI, PTSD, depression

Female military veterans who have traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression long after their service may be more likely to later develop dementia than female veterans without those conditions, according to a study published in the December 12, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Previous studies have shown that male veterans with these conditions may be at higher risk of dementia, but few studies have included female veterans,” said study author Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Understanding how these conditions affect women is critical as more women join the military, more women take on combat roles and since women may be at greater risk for some of these conditions. It’s estimated that almost one in three veterans deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have one of these conditions.”

The study involved 109,140 female veterans with an average age of 69 who received care at a Veterans Health Administration medical center and had at least one follow-up visit. Participants’ medical records were reviewed to determine who had a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression at the start of the study.

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