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Brains of former football players showed how common traumatic brain injuries might be

Signs of degenerative brain disease are also found in former high school and college athletes

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8:26am, December 13, 2017
football players colliding

HARD KNOCKS  By studying the brains of former football players, researchers are finding clues about how a neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, progresses, with the hopes of one day preventing it.

There have been hints for years that playing football might come at a cost. But a study this year dealt one of the hardest hits yet to the sport, detailing the extensive damage in football players’ brains, and not just those who played professionally.       

In a large collection of former NFL players’ postmortem brains, nearly every sample showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a disorder diagnosed after death that’s associated with memory loss, emotional outbursts, depression and dementia. Damaging clumps of the protein tau were present in 110 of 111 brains, researchers reported in JAMA

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