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Hits to the Head, Not Concussions, Cause CTE

Hits to the Head, Not Concussions, Cause CTE

January 22, 2018

Medical Research

The Washington Post – BGU researchers are part of an international team, led by Boston University, that collaborated on a new study linking hits to the head, rather than concussions, as a major factor of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Prof. Alon Friedman

CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that is traced back to the kind of head trauma experienced by football players, other athletes and combat veterans.

Prof. Alon Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and researcher in BGU’s Brain Imaging Research Center and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, led BGU’s research group involved in the study.

The study published in Brain, a journal of neurology, presents the strongest case yet that repetitive hits to the head do not lead to concussions —meaning any loss of consciousness or other symptoms that can include headaches, dizziness, vision problems or confusion — cause CTE.

It looked at the brains of four teenage athletes who had sustained repetitive hits to the head in the days and weeks before their death.

Analysis of their brains showed a range of post-traumatic pathology that included one case of early-stage CTE and two cases with abnormal accumulation of tau protein, a CTE marker typically found in small blood vessels in the brain.

Prof. Friedman and his team have focused their research on analyzing football players and their injuries in the hopes of finding new ways not only to treat, but also prevent, brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke and trauma-induced epilepsy.

His latest brain research findings can be found on the AABGU website.

Read more on The Washington Post website >>