Researchers from the University of Cambridge, England, have found that patients with traumatic brain injury had increased deposits of β-Amyloid (Aβ) plaques, traditionally associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, in some areas of the patients’ brains. The find suggests there may be some changes caused by the injury linked to cognitive decline and possibly Alzheimer’s. Aβ plaques are found in as much as 30 percent of patients who die in the acute phase after a TBI.
The plaques tend to appear within the hours immediately following the injury and can appear in patients of all ages, according to leader of the study, Young T. Hong, Ph.D.
Researchers used imaging and brain tissue samples from autopsies to analyze the amount of Aβ deposition in patients with TBI. Using positron emission tomography (PET) scans and a compound which marks brain amyloid deposition, the researchers investigated 15 participants with TBI and 11 healthy patients. The researchers also acquired brain tissue samples from 16 people who suffered TBI, and 7 patients who died from non-neurological causes.