Editorial calls for more research on link between football and brain damage

Is brain damage an inevitable consequence of American football, an avoidable risk of it, or neither? An editorial published yesterday in the medical journal BMJ poses those provocative questions. Chad Asplund, director of sports medicine at Georgia Regents University, and Thomas Best, professor and chair of sports medicine at Ohio State University, offer an overview of the unresolved connection between playing football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of gradually worsening brain damage caused by repeated mild brain injuries or concussions. This condition was first described in a football player in 2005, after University of Pittsburgh experts performed an autopsy on Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, whose life had taken a downward turn after his retirement from professional football. Since then, researchers have linked chronic traumatic encephalopathy to the wasting away of brain tissue, the buildup of brain proteins linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, depression, anger, and other behavioral and emotional problems. So far, all cases of autopsy-proven chronic traumatic encephalopathy have been in players who sustained repeated blows to the head. That’s a fact of life for almost all professional football players. But some of those with the condition had never been diagnosed with a concussion. According to Asplund and Best, this suggests that a series of head injuries that don’t cause concussions may lead to chronic traum...
Source: New Harvard Health Information - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Alzheimer's Disease Anxiety and Depression Medical Research Memory Men's Health Mental Health Safety brain damage brain health chronic traumatic encephalopathy concussion football National Football League Source Type: news

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