Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2021 Aug 24;13(1):e12230. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12230. eCollection 2021.
INTRODUCTION: Head injuries (HI) are a risk factor for dementia, but the underlying etiology is not fully known. Understanding whether tau might mediate this relationship is important.
METHODS: Cognition and tau deposition were compared between 752 individuals with (impaired, n = 302) or without cognitive impairment (CN, n = 450) with amyloid and [18F]flortaucipir positron emission tomography, HI history information, and cognitive testing from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the Indiana Memory and Aging Study.
RESULTS: Sixty-three (38 CN, 25 impaired) reported a history of HI. Higher neuropsychiatric scores and poorer memory were observed in those with a history of HI. Tau was higher in individuals with a history of HI, especially those who experienced a loss of consciousness (LOC). Results were driven by impaired individuals, especially amyloid beta-positive individuals with history of HI with LOC.
DISCUSSION: These findings suggest biological changes, such as greater tau, are associated with HI in individuals with cognitive impairment. Small effect sizes were observed; thus, further studies should replicate and extend these results.