Even one concussion increases risk for Parkinson’s disease, study shows

Concussion increased Parkinson’s risk by more than 50 percent

The diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

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Researchers who examined a group of 165,000 veterans found the risk depends on how serious the injury is. The risk for Parkinson’s increased by more than 50 percent with a concussion. Moderate to severe brain injury raised the risk to83 percent.

“Studies continue to show that concussions can lead to developing a variety of neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and ALS,” said Tad D. Seifert, M.D., neurologist and director of Norton Healthcare’s Sports Concussion Program. “That’s why it’s so important to quickly identify and properly treat brain injuries.”

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The neurological disorder causes tremors, stiffness and difficulty balancing, walking and coordinating your body’s movements.

“Nearly 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the United States every year,” said Angela M. Hardwick, M.D., neurologist with Norton Neuroscience Institute. “We need to do everything we can to prevent neurological diseases from happening.”

Experts point out the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease is low. In fact, just 360 of 76,000 veterans in the study diagnosed with a concussion developed the disease, as did 543 of 72,500 veterans diagnosed with moderate to severe brain injuries.


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