Sunday, November 1, 2009

Head Injury

So we should get more research into this area, thanks to the NFL. As it turns out people with head injuries develop more amyloid plaque in their brains. No one knows exactly why. The thinking is still somewhere in the fact that the enzyme(s) that breaks down amyloid may be faulty, consequently the amyloid continues to build up. That thinking may be right or wrong, but it is where a lot of the focus and theory at this time still lies. Exactly how that relates to head injury is not known.
Back when my mother had Alzheimer's in the early 1980's. my family and I were always asking why. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Remember back then Alzheimer's was not a term most of us were familiar with. I remember a lot of talk about my mother's head injury and maybe that had something to do with it. We never knew, but we speculated. We still don't know.
In 1933 when my mother was sixteen years old, on September 10th of that year to be exact, she was involved in a car crash. She was a passenger, and on impact got ejected from the vehicle. She flew a long way out of the car. I remember her telling me when I was a child that she flew about 50 or 60 feet out of the car. She actually landed in a pile of cinders and that probably saved her life. She had a fractured skull, and was comotose. I don't know how long she was in a coma exactly, it might have been hours or a couple of days.
I know she was back in school within a couple weeks, which I just figured out not to long ago from looking at her old scrapbooks. Some jerk teachers in the 1930's at Academy High School in Erie, PA even gave her incompletes and less than spectacular grades in a couple subjects, as I studied her report cards from that time. You could actually see the decline in her grades that semester, but then they came back up.
I remember over the years she used to get a lot of headaches, when I was growing up. But then again a lot of people get headaches, but who knows?
Did this accident, from which she recovered apparently pretty quickly by today's standards have anything to do with increasing her chances of getting AD? It happened 45 years before she was diagnosed. I know in this day and age, that with a fractured skull and an injury like that, most people would be out of school for the year. We may never know.
The NFL may help us understand this question some day. I hope the issue does not die out. It may be more significant as a factor than we have been thinking over the last 15 or 20 years.


karen said...

Mom hit her head once that I know of before we knew she had Alz's and than she fell and hit her head again after she had been told she had Alz's. And that is when she went down fast. The doc. said the head injury might of triggered the part of the brain affected by Alz's to progress faster. If that makes sense. She really was just guessing.

Heather said...

My grandmother also had a major head injury, and after that had reoccuring head aches. She is now in the end stage of Alzheimer's Disease. Her head injury created a laceration on the section of her skull from one ear to the other. They said she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. She came out of the vegetative state and lived a normal life for 40 years, until the Alzheimer's Disease progression.

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day