George Grossberg, MD: How Concussive Injuries Increase Risk of Alzheimer's

Physicians should remain vigilant in counseling their patients away from activities that pose a high risk of head injuries.

George Grossberg, MD:

Some of what doctors need to know is unfortunately coming from the lay media - the lay press - because as you know in the recent past, there has been a kind of a growing controversy about former NFL football players who have had multiple concussive injuries over their careers, who are now in relatively early life, in their maybe late 30s, mid to late 40s not only developing depression, some have suicided, but are now starting to show early onset Alzheimer's disease.

The media is kind of putting a lot of emphasis on that, but in the medical literature, other than a few articles in the neuropathology literature that point this out, it's not something that, you know, doctors talk a lot about - that maybe I should counsel my patients who have high school kids that if you've got a choice between playing tack football versus tennis, or golf, maybe you should pick those other sports.

Often, especially early on, traumatic brain injury begins to take its toll on the brain, and they might be at risk for even things like early onset Alzheimer's disease.

So it's a known fact that repetitive injury or concussive injury to the brain is a risk factor for early onset Alzheimer's disease.