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"A New Study on Concussions and Parkinson’s Provides One More Reason To Protect Your Noggin" - Neel V. Patel

  • Popular Science
  • New York, NY
  • (April 19, 2018)

A new study published in the journal Neurology is making waves for suggesting a single traumatic brain injury (TBI), even a mild one, can significantly increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that the increased risk was contingent on how severe the brain injury was, but even a mild brain injury raised the likelihood of Parkinson’s by as much as 56 percent. That’s a staggering assessment when you consider that each year, 42 million people worldwide are thought to sustain a concussion. Off the bat, the findings sound quite alarming. But there are some important caveats to unpack. “With a paper like this, you see so many media outlets blowing up this headline that says ’56 percent increased risk of Parkinson’s,’” said Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD, associate professor of rehabilitation medicine and co-director of the brain injury research center of Mount Sinai at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. And while the relative risk numbers look high, “the overall risk of developing Parkinson’s is still really small,” and the absolute risk of developing Parkinson’s only jumps from 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent between uninjured and injured individuals.

- Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD, Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine, Co-Director, Brain Injury Research Center of Mount Sinai, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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