The University of Wisconsin-Madison will be one of roughly 20 sites participating in a U.S. Department of Defense study of the possible link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Alzheimer’s disease in Vietnam vets as they get older, according to the The Cambridge News. The school is looking for Wisconsin veterans to get involved.
UW’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is participating in the defense study, which will look at four types of Vietnam vets, namely: those with TBI; those with PTSD; vets with both TBI and PTSD; and a control group that doesn’t have TBI or PTSD.
There is a qualification, to participate in the study you can already have major memory problems.
The story quoted Dr. Sterling Johnson, a professor at the UW School of Medicine and a researcher at the Alzheimer’s Research Center. He claimed that the study will be the first wide-range research on how TBI and PTSD impact the brain as it ages.
He also explained some of the current theories on the topic: that TBI triggers Alzheimer’s in some people, or that TBI weakens the brain so that it can’t fight off Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
In terms of PTSD and its effect, Johnson said that the hormones that are released when someone is under constant stress may injure the part of the brain that control memory, and thereby put a person with PTSD at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s.
This study requires that participants be screened by the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, and will then be referred to a research site that’s where they live.
In order to qualify, veterans are required to have a documented TBI history and/or PTSD diagnosis, and be getting benefits from the VA to help them with those issues.
Those who participate in the study will have brain scans and cognitive testing. Their spinal fluid will also be tested to determine if it contains amyloid, a protein that’s a market for Alzheimer’s.
The story tells Wisconsin Vietnam vets who are interested in the study to call the San Francisco VA hospital’s recruitment staff at 800-773-4883 or go to http://www.adni-info.org/.