Last updated on February 2019

A Study of Brain Aging in Vietnam War Veterans


Brief description of study

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common combat related problems and may be associated with a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The purpose of this study is to examine the possible connections between TBI and PTSD, and the signs and symptoms of AD on Veterans as they age.

The information collected will help to learn more about how these injuries may affect Veterans of the Vietnam War as they grow older, as well as Veterans of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who also have these types of combat related injuries.

Detailed Study Description

The overall long-term goal of this project is to prevent AD, which affects almost 50% of the US population over 85 years of age, and is the most common cause of dementia. Clinical signs and symptoms of AD include cognitive impairments, especially memory and emotional disturbances. In order to accomplish this goal of prevention, a population at risk must be identified. Evidence suggests that both TBI and PTSD increase risk for cognitive decline, AD, and dementia.

TBI and PTSD are common problems resulting from military service. Thus far, there have been no prospective studies using imaging and biomarkers, which directly measure changes in the brain and AD pathology to study the effects of TBI and PTSD. This proposed study will provide novel data to test these hypotheses. The results will have major implications for identifying, subjects at increased risk for AD, a possible need for early detection of AD in military Veterans with histories of TBI and PTSD, and a possible need to employ prevention and treatment measures to avoid accelerated development of AD in US military Veterans. This study is a first step toward a larger, more comprehensive study of dementia risk factors in Veterans. The results will lead to a design and statistical powering of a prevention trial. Therefore, this project could be the first step toward the prevention of AD in Veterans, and in the general population.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01687153

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Recruitment Status: Open


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