CTE in American Football Players more than Expected

Researchers at Boston University (MA, USA), reported a high prevalence of CTE in American football players.

Post-mortem exams were performed on 202 brain samples, including ex-NFL players, finding CTE pathology in 177 of the 202 samples and more severe pathology was linked with longer playing careers.



First Claims Are Approved in N.F.L. Concussion Settlement

JUNE 16, 2017
The first two claims in the N.F.L.’s billion-dollar concussion settlement were announced Thursday, a total of $9 million in benefits.
The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is overseeing the process, was notified Thursday that the claims were approved. The names of the former players were not disclosed as part of the filings.
The payouts were for $5 million for a qualifying diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and $4 million for a qualifying diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Those amounts mean that each individual played a minimum of five N.F.L. seasons and received a diagnosis before his 45th birthday.

The Earliest Signs of Brain Damage in Athletes? Listen for Them

Researchers tracked the words that a group of players, coaches and executives spoke spontaneously in 10,000 interviews and news conferences from 2007 to 2015.


MAY 29, 2017

Evidence continues to mount that professional athletes in a number of contact sports are suffering brain damage as a result of head impacts. But there is no reliable test to detect the injury, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in its earliest stages.
Even if a doctor strongly suspects that an athlete’s confusion or memory loss is related to C.T.E., proof can only be obtained on autopsy.
Now a small study of National Football League players suggests another possibility: that the signs of C.T.E. may be found with a low-cost, noninvasive test that tracks changes in conversational language years before symptoms appear.
If it works, the linguistic test also would be valuable in assessing the effectiveness of treatments to prevent cognitive damage because of C.T.E. or to slow its progression.

Read the whole article:

Women sustain more Sports related concussions than men

According to  new research, investigators at Columbia University found that women were 50% more likely to sustain sports-related concussions than their male counterparts  when competing in sports such as soccer and basketball.

“It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussion than men. The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion,” according to study investigator James Noble, MD, MS, a neurologist at The Neurological Institute of New York Taubs Institute, New York City.


Fortunately, investigators found no significant difference between  men and women in postconcussion neuropsychological test performance, suggesting that recovery time for  is very  similar to men.  The average return-to-play time was 10 days for both men and women.

A Single Concussion May Have Lasting Impact

This is not new news, but it is good that it is being reported on. In a lecture I give there was a good study from 2009 highlighting this. 


A single concussion experienced by a child or teenager may have lasting repercussions on mental health and intellectual and physical functioning throughout adulthood, and multiple head injuries increase the risks of later problems, according to one of the largest, most elaborate studies to date of the impacts of head trauma on the young.

Imaging agent could reveal chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living brain 

In a proof-of-concept study, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NY, USA) have demonstrated the use of an experimental PET tracer in the diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the living brain. At present, diagnosis is only possible after death, but this new study could pave the way for the development of an effective diagnostic tool for living patients.
In the study, published in Translational Psychiatry, the research team investigated the use of an experimental PET imaging ligand, [18F]T807/AV1451, which they hoped would provide antemorten detection of tauopathies that are characteristic of CTE.
The team investigated the use of T807 in a 39-year old retired NFL player who had experienced 22 previous concussions and exhibited some of the behavioral characteristics of CTE, including emotional lability and irritability. Following administration of T807 and PET scanning, the player was demonstrated to exhibit the pathognomonic tau pathology of CTE.
“Our study participant’s scan is the first to reveal during life a pattern of tau imaging that outlines the wrinkles and folds of the living brain, just like the ‘pathognomonic pattern’ described by the NINDS panel as diagnostic of a brain with CTE,” commented Sam Gandy, Director of the Center for Cognitive Health and NFL Neurological Care Program at the Icahn School of Medicine and senior study author. “When fully validated, this new ligand has the potential to be used as a diagnostic biomarker and represents an exciting development in the detection and tracking of CTE.”
“This research is in its infancy,” added Dara Dickstein (Icahn School of Medicine), first author on the study. “Whether or not the pathology can be reversed or halted is something we have yet to determine and these new tauopathy PET scans may be able to help in this endeavor.”
Looking ahead, a research team led by Drs Gandy and Dickstein at Mount Sinai is now studying a further 24 patients. They aim to establish a clinical trial in early 2017 to investigate further the use of T807 in the diagnosis of CTE patients who may respond to an anti-tauopathy treatment currently being studied for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
“These findings demonstrate that we may now have the first biomarker for the detection of CTE through tau imaging,” concluded Howard Fillit, Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. “This may prove significant as an early diagnostic tool for those who suffer repeated traumatic brain injuries. It may also help us better understand the similarities in disease processes between CTE, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and determine whether repeated head injuries may lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s.”