BU Study: Repeated Head Hits, Not Concussions, Cause CTE

Alarming new BU study shows impacts, not just concussions, lead to brain disease

A study published online in Brain, a journal of neurology, finds that repetitive hits to the head that don't lead to concussions - meaning no loss of consciousness or other symptoms that can include headaches, dizziness, vision problems or confusion - cause CTE.

"As highlighted in this recent study, repetitive hits to the head have been consistently implicated as a cause of CTE by this research group".

A study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found CTE diagnoses in 110 of 111 former National Football League players whose brains were donated for research. Lee Goldstein of Boston University, pointed to studies that showed CTE can start early in life and without any signs of concussion.

One of the cases was diagnosed as an early stage CTE. "And that's important, because what it means is for say the people who love football, which is, American football, which is mostly everybody, that concussion protocols may be insufficient to protect the athletes", said Moss. "The only correlation we saw was with the hit itself". She said she plans to be vigilant but still support her children as they play sports. They administered a few mild blows to the heads of the lab mice: the force was equivalent to the impact of a right hook to a human, or a helmet-to-helmet football collision, but the blows did not always cause concussions in the mice, says Goldstein. Currently, the only way to diagnose CTE is with an autopsy after death. The brains of those who did not experience head injuries did not have the same signs, the researchers state.

Trying to spread that message has been frustrating for some advocates, who still think too many parents aren't informed despite the public attention paid to concussions and CTE (Brett Favre recently produced a documentary on making playing surfaces safer because he thought the topic was widely misunderstood). Until now, the focus was on any concussions they received. "And by hits, I mean all of them", said Dr.

Any head impact may lead to damaged blood vessels in the brain that "become leaky, resulting in blood proteins spilling into brain tissue and triggering brain inflammation", researchers hypothesized. This however is the largest and most definitive study on this till date say researchers. Dr.

All of our studies are pointing towards subconcussive impacts causing a change in the brain. In an ideal world, tackle football would be pushed back until later in adolescence, Goldstein says - your brain continues to develop into your twenties - but he knows such restrictions are unrealistic, given how deeply high school and college football is ingrained in American culture.

CLF has teamed up with Pro Football Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti and Harry Carson, who advocate the foundation's cause. But, he remains optimistic for the future of football.

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