Dementia risk in female military veterans - Alzheimer's Society comment

A new study finds female military veterans who have traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression may be more likely to develop dementia.

Female military veterans who have traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression long after their service may be more likely to later develop dementia than female veterans without those conditions, according to a study published today in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study found that women with PTSD were about 80 percent more likely to develop dementia than women without it.

Women with depression were about 70 percent more likely to develop dementia than women without it.

Women with traumatic brain injury were about 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than women without it. The risk of dementia was doubled for women with more than one of these conditions, compared to women who did not have any of the conditions.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'There’s a clear gap in dementia research around women’s health. With dementia now the UK’s biggest killer, exploring potential factors that may increase the risk of developing this devastating disease is fundamental to beating it.

'We already know that women with dementia outnumber men with the condition nearly two to one. Conditions such as depression, traumatic brain injury and PTSD can increase our dementia risk, and previous research has suggested that women may also be more likely to develop them.

'These worryingly striking results highlight the need for science to address the impact of these risk factors in women, which is why our researchers are hard at work to better understand what might cause dementia and how we can beat it.'

Why is dementia different for women?

More women are affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1. Here we discuss the biology behind dementia risk.

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