Traumatic brain injury and time to onset of alzheimer's disease: A population-based study

Peter N. Nemetz, Cynthia Leibson, James M. Naessens, Mary Beard, Emre Kokmen, John F. Annegers, Leonard T. Kurland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


Controversy continues as to whether traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. The authors examined a related hypothesis that among persons with traumatic brain injury who develop Alzheimer's disease, time to onset of the disease is reduced. They used data on all documented episodes of traumatic brain injury that occurred from 1935 to 1984 among Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents. Community-based medical records were used to follow traumatic brain injury cases who were aged 40 years or older at last contact prior to June 1, 1988, for Alzheimer's disease until last contact, death, or June 1, 1988. The test of the hypothesis was restricted to those cases who developed Alzheimer's disease. The expected time to onset of Alzheimer's disease was derived from a life table constructed by using age-of-onset distributions within sex groups for a previously identified cohort of Rochester, Minnesota, Alzheimer's disease incidence cases without a history of head trauma. The authors found that of the 1,283 traumatic brain injury cases followed, 31 developed Alzheimer's disease, a number similar to that expected (standardized incidence ratio = 1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.8-1.7). However, the observed time from traumatic brain injury to Alzheimer's disease was less than the expected time to onset of Alzheimer's disease (median = 10 vs. 18 years, p = 0.015). The results suggest that traumatic brain injury reduces the time to onset of Alzheimer's disease among persons at risk of developing the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain injuries
  • Cohort studies
  • Head injuries
  • Incidence
  • Medical records
  • Risk factors
  • Traumatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Traumatic brain injury and time to onset of alzheimer's disease: A population-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this