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TBI and dementia

May 9, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a non-profit research organization, has produced an image database that hopes to uncover the elusive factors relating to how brain trauma may affect the brain’s ability to age in a healthy way.

The research made use of the Adult Changes in Thought study, a longitudinal effort that has collected information on thousands of older adults. Scientists from the University of Washington dove into the data to examine possible effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on dementia risks later in life.

Researchers examined the effects of mild to moderate TBI on the aged brain, comparing samples from patients who had self-reported “loss of consciousness” episodes against a control group.  In all, the team examined post-mortem samples from 107 brains aged 79 to 102, with tissue collected from various parts of the brain.

“Interestingly, while we see many other trends in these data, we did not uncover a distinctive genetic signature or pathologic biomarker in patients with TBI and loss of consciousness in this population study,” said Ed Lein, Ph.D., Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, in the Allen Institute announcement.

Although the study found no clear pattern of risk between TBI and dementia so far, the results could lead to better interventions for those with TBI. The research, the first to include such a large data pool and a variety of data types, culminated in a massive image database that shows, disease state, protein status and gene expressions.

Best of all, the data will be made available online to other researchers working on better ways to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases.

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