Blows to Head Damage Brain’s Waste Removal Processes, May Accelerate Dementia


Traumatic brain injuries can disrupt the waste-removal functions of the brain, according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience. This is one way that blows to the head can lead to build-up of toxic proteins which may in turn contribute to neurogenerative problems such as Alzheimer’s, the researchers stated.

“We know that traumatic brain injury early in life is a risk factor for the early development of dementia in the decades that follow,” a co-author from the University of Rochester told Medscape. “This study shows that these injuries set into motion a cascading series of events that impair the brain’s ability to clear waste, allowing proteins like tau to spread throughout the brain and eventually reach toxic levels.”

Blows to head damage brain’s ‘garbage truck,’ accelerate dementia (Medscape, December 2, 2014)

(Abstract) Impairment of Glymphatic Pathway Function Promotes Tau Pathology after Traumatic Brain Injury (Iliff, Jeffrey J. et al. The Journal of Neuroscience. December 3, 2014. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3020-14.2014)