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Study finds soldiers’ exposure to blasts may increase risk in Alzheimer’s

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 8:13 PM CST
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - A new study finds that soldiers exposed to explosive shockwaves may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the National Institutes of Health say the study was done by studying rats.

In the study, researchers found that rat brains exposed to military-grade blasts could alter the connections between neurons in the brain at a molecular level. This slowly affects the part of the brain that helps form memories and social behavior, developing Alzheimer’s symptoms over time.

Regardless of the conclusions made, Brenda Shuttlesworth from the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in Waco says more research must continue.

“We always can’t control our environment and what we live through in life,” she said.

“The soldiers have no way to control what they experience in training and especially in war and sometimes the things we experience early in life can affect us later in life.”

No matter what age a veteran is or how long it has been since they served, Shuttlesworth says prevention is key.

Daily activities like puzzles or reading, maintaining a healthy diet and socially interacting with others can help.

“The thing that we can control is lifestyle,” she said.

“The earlier we engage in activities that help us be better both mentally and physically, the better.”

A complete list of Alzheimer’s warning signs and preventive measures can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association website.

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