Head & Brain Injury Advice and Resources


Alzheimer’s Type Brain Degeneration Triggered By TBI

Douglas Smith, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine teamed up with neuropathologist William Stewart, MD, from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, to study the long term neuro-degenerative effects of a single TBI on the human brain. They used post-mortem examination of tissue slices of the brains of people who had sustained one non-fatal, moderate-to-severe TBI many years before death.

They concluded that just one moderate-to-severe TBI can initiate changes in brain tissue characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease involving the widespread appearance of tau tangles among axons and beta-amyloid plaques in brain cell bodies. These changes were visible in young and middle aged adults at an age long before the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is significant. Their study was published in the summer 2011 issue of Brain Pathology.