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Drugs linked with dementia and slow recovery from brain injuries

Many Ohio residents suffering from conditions such as insomnia, asthma, incontinence or muscle spasms are prescribed anticholinergic drugs. These popular medications control involuntary muscle spasms by blocking certain chemical processes in the brain, but recent research has linked them to slower recovery from brain and spinal cord injuries and the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2015 linked anticholinergic drugs with an increased risk of dementia, and the results of a study by British researchers looking into the impact of anticholinergics on 52 patients recovering from brain or spinal injuries was recently published in the journal Brain Injury. The British research team found that patients taking anticholinergic drugs tended to spend more time in neurorehabilitation facilities. The researchers also discovered a direct link between the amount of anticholinergics that patients were taking and the length of time they spent in rehabilitation.

The researchers accepted that more research with a larger sample group should be undertaken to better understand the impact of anticholinergic drugs on the recovery from serious brain injuries. However, the research team suggested that additional studies be conducted quickly due to the popularity of the drugs and the wide range of conditions that can lead to them being taken.

This type of research is a reminder of the uncertainty involved with the recovery from traumatic brain injuries. Those who suffer a brain injury sometimes appear to have fully recovered only to encounter a major setback weeks or months later, and some brain injury sufferers never fully recover. A personal injury attorney may file a lawsuit on behalf of those who suffer a brain injury in an accident caused by the negligence of another, and legal counsel can call upon neurological experts to better describe their client's condition.

Source: Healthline.com, "What are Anticholinergics?", Jacquelyn Cafasso, June 4, 2013

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