Tags: concussion | football | cte | dementia

Brain Inflammation in Football Players Linked to Dementia

Brain Inflammation in Football Players Linked to Dementia

(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 03 November 2016 11:26 AM

Researchers have new evidence that inflammation plays a key role in concussions, and what they've uncovered will undoubtedly transform the way the medical profession deals with head trauma.

To make their determinations, doctors from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System examined brains from former football players after they died. They also examined non-athletes as controls.

The doctors were looking for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and indications of inflammation in the subjects' brains. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including concussions.

Inflammation was determined by the number of inflammatory cells in the frontal cortex of the brain. They then compared the number of years playing football to the numbers of inflammatory cells, the development of CTE, and the presence of dementia in life. Using statistics, they tested the premise that the number of years of exposure to football predicted brain inflammation, CTE pathology, and the development of dementia.

They found that the number of years playing contact sports may predict the occurrence of CTE, and that this association is partly due to increased inflammation in the brain.

Jonathan Cherry, a postdoctoral fellow in neurology at BUSM and a study author, said: "This study provides evidence that playing football for a prolonged period can result in long-term brain inflammation and that this inflammation might lead to CTE. Although inflammation may be protective in the brain, especially right after an injury, our study suggests that years after a period of playing football inflammation can persist in the brain and is linked to the development of CTE."

Previous research points to the role inflammation plays in many other degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and now researchers can reasonably draw a line between inflammation and concussions.

The hope is that treating inflammation can prevent or lessen the development of CTE. "Brain inflammation could be used as a predictive biomarker to help identify patients at risk of developing CTE in life," said Cherry.

The findings were posted online in Acta Neuropathologica Communications.

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Researchers have new evidence that inflammation plays a key role in concussions, and what they've uncovered will undoubtedly transform the way the medical profession deals with head trauma.
concussion, football, cte, dementia
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2016-26-03
Thursday, 03 November 2016 11:26 AM
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