Military Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Current Alzheimer research

PubMedID: 23906002

Veitch DP, Friedl KE, Weiner MW. Military Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013;.
Delayed neurological health consequences of environmental exposures during military service have been generally underappreciated. The rapidly expanding understanding of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis now makes it possible to quantitate some of the likely longterm health risks associated with military service. Military risk factors for AD include both factors elevated in military personnel such as tobacco use, traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other nonspecific risk factors for AD including, vascular risk factors such as obesity and obesity-related diseases (e.g., metabolic syndrome), education and physical fitness. The degree of combat exposure, Vietnam era Agent Orange exposure and Gulf War Illness may also influence risk for AD. Using available data on the association of AD and specific exposures and risk factors, the authors have conservatively estimated 423,000 new cases of AD in veterans by 2020, including 140,000 excess cases associated with specific military exposures. The cost associated with these excess cases is approximately $5.8 billion to $7.8 billion. Mitigation of the potential impact of military exposures on the cognitive function of veterans and management of modifiable risk factors through specifically designed programs will be instrumental in minimizing the impact of AD in veteransin the future decades.