Lead researcher, Marc Morissette, from the Pan Am Clinic Foundation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, said the risks for people who had suffered a concussion were around 40-70% higher to develop any of several conditions, including: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, ADHD, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia.
“We’re not trying to scare people or have parents keep their kids out of sports,” Morissette said.
Despite the findings, the researches insisted the vast majority of participants in the study, whether they suffered concussions or not, did not develop Parkinson’s, dementia, or ADHD, while depression and anxiety disorders were more common across the study, with a higher amount from the concussion group.
Complex Concussion Clinic co-director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Sean Rose, said the research cannot necessarily prove cause and effect, but can point to a correlation between concussion and later disease risks.
Morissette’s research team found that ADHD was more commonly diagnosed in people who’d sustained a concussion, with their risk being 39% higher than the comparison group, with it diagnosed on average at age 17.
Dr. Rose said this backs up some previous research suggesting children with ADHD have a higher concussion risk, but iterated advice to parents to learn the signs and symptoms of concussion, and to remember certain sports are riskier than others when it comes to concussion.
Morissette said the concussion group was about 60-70% more likely to be diagnosed with depression/anxiety, Parkinson’s or dementia, with adults with more than three concussions being at three-times greater risk than those with one concussion for developing Parkinson’s or dementia.
The study revealed a stronger link between concussions and depression/anxiety for women than men, but Morissette admitted he is unsure why the results pointed in that direction.
The study, which was published in Family Medicine and Community Health, compared almost 47,500 people who were diagnoses with a concussion to three concussion-free people of the same age and sex, through the use of 25 years’ worth of health insurance claims and other medical date from Manitoba residents.