Study: Repeated hits to head linked to CTE, not concussions

Mackenzie Garrity -  

A recent Boston University study, published in Brain, examined whether repetitive hits to the head that do not cause concussions were still linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, USA Today reported.

Researchers studied the postmortem brains of four teenagers against a study of mice. The four teenage brains were from high school football players who suffered between one and 128 days prior to death. Not all of the athletes had histories of concussions.


Here’s what you need to know:


1. Of the four subjects, two died of suicide and two died from brain trauma. One of the teenagers showed early signs of CTE and two others showed symptoms of tau protein, which leads to CTE.


2. Researchers also compared the brains of the four athletes against four control subjects who did not have head trauma histories. None of the four control subjects showed signs of CTE.


3. Using a device, mice were then given impacts that lead to mild brain trauma similar to what the athletes faced. The mice’s brains were then scanned using and MRI.


4. The MRIs brains showed immediate changes to the mouse brain’s electrical functions.


5. Researchers discovered CTE was not related to the severity or occurrence of concussions. Some of the mice who were most affected showed little signs of concussions.


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