Repeated head hits, not concussions, may lead to brain damage, study says

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

Hockey Hall of Famer and Islanders great Clark Gillies says the study proves what many have known all along: Getting hit in the head, concussion or not, is not a good thing.

- A new study from Boston University found that concussions do not lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia.

"The main message of this work is that concussion doesn't cause the CTE, but rather, the hit itself independent of concussion causes CTE", Goldstein said.

The study concluded that concussions are not correlated with the disease. "We have been in close touch with the researchers at Boston University, who are also members of our Mackey-White Health and Safety committee, and we will review this study carefully to consider future changes to improve the health and safety of our players".

The stunning new study out of BU compared four brains of teen athletes with CTE, and four brains of athletes with no evidence of the condition. A 2017 study from JAMA found 110 of 111 deceased National Football League athletes had CTE. Goldstein remarked on the difference, noting of a TBI: "it is an injury, an event", he said.

"The concussion is really irrelevant for triggering CTE", said Dr. "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. "This is because individuals react differently to both the number and the severity of brain impacts", said Dr. Comstock. That presence of that protein is how CTE is diagnosed after death.

Researchers from a Boston University-led team published their findings Thursday in the journal Brain. Three athletes from the first group showed abnormalities, including one case of early-stage CTE.

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. Researchers analyzed brains from teenagers who had experienced recent head injury, and the researchers also studied "mouse models that recreate sports-related head impact and military-related blast exposure".

That and other evidence led the researchers to hypothesize that early CTE may result from leaky blood vessels in the brain. The process, experts say, starts early and persists.

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.

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