Researchers at the have found that a variant of the APOE gene may be the trigger behind worse psychiatric symptoms in the victims of a traumatic brain injury. Nevada residents should know that TBIs increase the risk for psychiatric disorders like PTSD, depression and anxiety. An earlier study of over 13,000 veterans found that 80 percent of TBI victims had a psychiatric disorder.

The VA San Diego Healthcare System study focused on 133 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 79 of whom had a mild or moderate TBI and 54 of whom had no TBI history. These had undergone DNA testing and were found to have the APOE4 gene: a gene well-known as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. APOE stands for apolipoprotein E, which helps in neuron growth and maintenance.

Researchers found that the 79 participants showed worse symptoms compared to a group of TBI victims without APOE4. The 54 without TBI history showed no difference in depression, anxiety and PTSD symptoms compared to those without the gene. It follows, then, that APOE4 only worsens the symptoms when a TBI is involved.

This study, which is the first to connect APOE4 with TBI-related psychiatric symptoms, may point the way toward improved neurotrauma treatment. The San Diego VA team continues to study how APOE4 interacts with head trauma and affects post-concussion symptoms like headaches and dizziness.

A brain injury can be incurred in various ways, including in car accidents and slip and falls. It could require victims to undergo long-term medical and, as suggested above, psychiatric treatment. Victims of another’s negligence might be covered for these and other expenses and losses because they will have good grounds for a personal injury claim. Victims may want to hire a lawyer because the other side could have its own legal team to argue against paying out.