TBI and PTSD Both Double the Risk of Dementia in Older People
Kristine Yaffe, M.D., a professor of neurology and psychiatry at UCSF Medical Center is an expert on epidemiology and geriatric medicine who treats patients at the V.A. Medical Center in San Francisco. Dr. Yaffe and colleagues have done studies on the effects of TBI and PTSD on older veterans and found that both conditions double the risk of dementia. She says the exact causal mechanisms are not known, but PTSD is known to cause chronic elevation of the stress hormone cortisol and cortisol is known to be toxic to the part of the brain responsible for memory that degenerates in Alzheimer’s Disease. This area of the brain is called the hippocampus.