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Scientists Identify Protein Linked to Traumatic Brain Injury

April 22nd, 2019

Researchers examining the brain tissue of deceased National Football League (NFL) players have linked abnormal levels of a specific brain protein to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). A detailed article on their research is available here.

CTE is degenerative brain disease is commonly associated with repeated, traumatic blows to the head. They hope their research will soon help doctors diagnose the disorder in living players.

The Results

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to uncover a correlation between abnormally high levels of Tau Proteins in areas of brain tissue associated with CTE.

While previous studies found elevated levels of Tau Proteins in single cases, this study marks the first time researchers have compared the brain tissue of a group of former NFL players to a control group consisting of men of similar age who had not played professional football.

About the Research

Currently, researchers have only been able to confirm the diagnosis in the donated brains of deceased players. They hope their findings will lead to clinical tests to diagnose CTE in living players—and help medical professionals identify early warning signs and associated risk factors.

Investigators—under the direction of Boston University’s Dr. Robert Stern—studied images from the brains of 26 deceased NFL players who exhibited symptoms of CTE during their lives. Those images showed a marked elevation of Tau Proteins compared to a control group of men who had not played football. The levels they found also appear to increase in relation to the number of years a player was active in the sport.

Hope for the Future

Experts call the findings encouraging. They suggest a reliable marker for abnormal Tau Proteins would allow doctors to identify CTE in living players—and someday allow medical professionals to monitor how patients respond to potential drug treatments.

The authors of the study say a diagnostic test is likely years away—and may require other markers found in blood and spinal fluid. They insist more work is required to develop a reliable test for the disorder, first discovered in the brain tissue of deceased NFL players some 15 years ago.

We Can Help

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident through no fault of your own, call the experienced North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys at Henson Fuerst today at 919-781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.

When you call, you will speak with one of our experienced Raleigh Personal Injury attorneys. They will investigate every detail of your situation at no cost to you—and fight hard to protect your rights. At Henson Fuerst, you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front—and you owe us nothing unless we recover for you.

Call Henson Fuerst, Because Your Case Matters