Faculty Advisor(s)

Heather Fritz



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Purpose/Hypothesis: The prevalence of traumatic brain injuries has increased over time. Following a TBI, neurodegeneration occurs which predisposes individuals to other neurological conditions such as dementia. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the relationship between TBIs and the occurrence of dementia in military veterans.

Number of subjects: Not applicable

Materials/Methods: CINAHL complete and APA PsychInfo were searched electronically between the years 2000 and 2020 in August of 2020. A second search was conducted in January of 2021 to include any new and updated research. Search terms included concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, mild tbi, mtbi, traumatic brain injury, TBI, dementia, alzheimers, military, veterans, soldiers, armed forces, VA, and veterans affairs. The search was narrowed to include only academic journals in English. Selection of articles were determined by the authors that agreed upon the inclusion of TBI, dementia, and military population. Access to full text articles were gained through the inter-library loan, One Search, and the databases above via Misericordia University. Hand searching occurred to gain access to articles that were identified in the reference of established matrix articles.

Results: 172 articles were identified through electronic search. Based on inclusion criteria, 8 articles were included in the systematic review. Two other articles were included following a hand search. All studies were retrospective including cohort and case control studies.

Conclusion: Nine of ten articles identified traumatic brian injuries are a risk factor for the development of dementia in military members. Two articles identified there was no relationship between the severity of a TBI and risk factors for developing dementia. Four articles reported an increased risk for dementia when other risk factors combined with TBI were involved. Four articles determine there is a greater risk for late onset dementia than early onset dementia when sustaining a TBI at any age.

Clinical Relevance: By understanding the risk factor of dementia following TBIs health care providers can screen for dementia and treat as needed. The better understanding there is of this relationship the better prevention, management, and treatment can be implemented to decrease this silent epidemic.

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Physical Therapy


dementia, traumatic brain injury, military


Physical Therapy

The Recognition of Traumatic Brain Injuries as a Risk Factor for Dementia in Military Veterans: A Systematic Review