USA Today (July 13, 2009): Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress are at High Risk of Dementia

Publication Date: 
Mon, 07/13/2009

Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia comparing with veterans who don't have the disorder, a study reports today.

Using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs National Patient Care Database, scientists from the University of California-San Francisco analyzed files of 181,093 veterans ages 55 and older without dementia from 1997 to 2000. The mean age at the start of the study was 68, and 97% were male.

During the follow-up period from 2001 to 2007, the researchers learned that 53,155 veterans were diagnosed with dementia or cognitive impairment. Veterans who had post-traumatic stress developed dementia at a rate of 10.6% over seven years, while those who didn't have the disorder had a rate of 6.6%, the researchers reported.