Aims: To evaluate the relationship between self-reported head injury and cognitive impairment, dementia, mortality, and Alzheimer's disease (AD)-type pathological changes. Methods: Clinical and neuropathological data from participants enrolled in a longitudinal study of aging and cognition (n = 649) were analyzed to assess the chronic effects of self-reported head injury. Results: The effect of self-reported head injury on the clinical state depended on the age at assessment: for a 1-year increase in age, the OR for the transition to clinical mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at the next visit for participants with a history of head injury was 1.21 and 1.34 for the transition from MCI to dementia. Without respect to age, head injury increased the odds of mortality (OR = 1.54). Moreover, it increased the odds of a pathological diagnosis of AD for men (OR = 1.47) but not women (OR = 1.18). Men with a head injury had higher mean amyloid plaque counts in the neocortex and entorhinal cortex than men without. Conclusions: Self-reported head injury is associated with earlier onset, increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, increased risk of mortality, and AD-type pathological changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-306
Number of pages13
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Head injury
  • Neuropathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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