Traumatic brain injury (TBI) with loss of consciousness (LOC) has been associated with earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but has not been examined as a risk factor for earlier onset of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
The purpose of this study was to assess the association between a history of TBI and the age of onset of DLB.
Data from 576 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of DLB were obtained from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC). Analyses of Covariance examined whether self-reported history of remote TBI with LOC (i.e., >1 year prior to the first Alzheimer’s Disease Center visit) was associated with earlier DLB symptom onset.
Controlling for sex, those with a history of remote TBI had an approximately 1.5-year earlier clinician-estimated age of onset (F = 0.87, p = 0.35) and 0.75-years earlier age of diagnosis (F = 0.14, p = 0.71) of DLB compared to those without a history of TBI, though the differences did not reach statistical significance. Analysis of subjects with autopsy-confirmed diagnoses was underpowered due to the low number of TBI+ subjects.
Remote TBI with LOC was not significantly associated with DLB onset, despite being a significant risk factor for cognitive decline and earlier age of onset in other neurodegenerative conditions. Replication of these results using a larger cohort of DLB subjects with and without a TBI history who have undergone autopsy is indicated, as our TBI+ subjects did show a slightly earlier onset of about 1.5 years. Further investigations into other potential DLB risk factors are also warranted.