Although the study was small, Goldstein said studying even single cases of CTE can help researchers develop hypothesis to test. On the other hand, the brains of those who did not have a head injury shortly before death did not have the same pathologies. They noted that despite not having a concussion, the mice still showed changes in their brain. They discovered such impacts caused leaky blood vessels and brain inflammation. The sample on the right, from the control group, shows the brain of a 22-year-old male and former high school American football player who also died by suicide, with no history of recent head injury. Goldstein also has an appointment at the College of Engineering. What's more, they found strong evidence linking head injuries to early CTE that is unrelated or independent of concussion. Concussion is "not only not correlated, we can decouple it", said Goldstein. Injuries to the head result in focal disruption of capillaries, causing protein leakage into the brain.
The disease is marked by abnormal deposits of calcium and proteins throughout the brain, as well as by neuropsychiatric symptoms that range from tremors and memory problems to depression and suicidal rage. Presently, CTE can only be diagnosed in an individual after death, but Stern and his BU colleagues are optimistic the disease can be diagnosed in the living within the next five to 10 years.
Kimberly Archie was pleased to hear about the new findings on chronic brain injuries released by Boston University on Thursday. Goldstein said that while the new work advanced understanding of the mechanisms underlying CTE, it's not clear how frequently people experience these types of changes in the brain. "How and why exactly this manifests, who is at risk, and why - these are questions that we as researchers and clinicians are working to answer", Sills said.
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"To prevent the disease, you have to prevent head impact - it's hits to the head that cause CTE", corresponding author Dr.
Tran wasn't involved in the study but reviewed its findings. Bailes was one of the first researchers to connect repeated head trauma to neurological damage in football players. A 2017 study from JAMA found 110 of 111 deceased National Football League athletes had CTE. However, there is a potential bias, as numerous studied brains came from players who experienced clinical CTE symptoms when living, such as memory loss, rage and mood swings.
Other mice, including many who got a series of blows equivalent to participating in a single game or practice, would behave normally in the days following a head impact.
Goldstein said concussions remain the red herring of CTE.