Effects of traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder on development of Alzheimer's disease in Vietnam Veterans using the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative: Preliminary Report

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2017 Jun;3(2):177-188. doi: 10.1016/j.trci.2017.02.005.

Abstract

Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have previously been reported to be associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We are using biomarkers to study Vietnam Veterans with/without mild cognitive impairment with a history of at least one TBI and/or ongoing PTSD to determine whether these contribute to the development of AD.

Methods: Potential subjects identified by Veterans Administration records underwent an initial telephone screen. Consented subjects underwent clinical evaluation, lumbar puncture, structural MRI and amyloid PET scans.

Results: We observed worse cognitive functioning in PTSD and TBI + PTSD groups, worse global cognitive functioning in the PTSD group, lower superior parietal volume in the TBI + PTSD group, and lower amyloid positivity in the PTSD group, but not the TBI group compared to controls without TBI/PTSD. Medial temporal lobe atrophy was not increased in the PTSD and/or TBI groups.

Discussion: Preliminary results do not indicate that TBI or PTSD increase the risk for AD measured by amyloid PET. Additional recruitment, longitudinal follow-up, and tau PET scans will provide more information in the future.