by Mia de Graaf, US Health Editor
While athletes of all sports express their fear of brain injury, we go through the need-to-know facts about risks, symptoms, tests and research.
1. Concussion is a red herring: large hits are not the problem, ALL main hits cause damage
All sports insist that they do more to prevent concussions in athletes to protect their brain health.
Boston University (the leading center on this subject), however, published a groundbreaking study in January to destroy the obsession with concussions.
A concussion, they found, is the red herring: it is not a & # 39; big hit & # 39; which causes the onset of a neurodegenerative brain disease. Nor does a & # 39; big hit & # 39; it more likely.
In fact, it is the experience of repeated subconcussive hits over time that increases the risk of brain disease.
In short: every tackle or header in a game – or even in practice – increases the risk that a player develops a brain disease.
2. What is the feared CTE disease?
Headbumps can cause various brain injuries, including ALS (the disease that Stephen Hawking had), Parkinson's and dementia.
But CTE is one that appears to be primarily associated with head blows (while the others often occur in non-athletes).
CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
It is very similar to Alzheimer's disease because it starts with inflammation and a build-up of tau proteins in the brain.
These lumps of tau protein built up in the frontal lobe, which controls emotional expression and judgment (similar to dementia).
This interrupts normal functioning and blood flow in the brain, causing nerve cells to be disrupted and killed.
These proteins gradually multiply and spread, killing other cells in the brain. Over time, this process begins to cause symptoms in the patient, including confusion, depression, and dementia.
In the later stages (there are four stages of pathology), the tau deposits extend from the frontal lobe (top) to the temporal lobe (on the sides). This influences the amygdala and the hippocampus, which controls emotion and memory.
3. What are the symptoms?
Sufferers and their families have described that they & # 39; ghosts & # 39; to become.
CTE influences emotion, memory, spatial awareness and anger management.
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Uncontrollable anger
- Names, people, forgetting things (such as dementia)
- Refusal to eat or talk
4. Can patients be diagnosed during their lifetime?
No. Although a person may suffer from clear CTE symptoms, the only way to diagnose his CTE is a post-mortem examination.
More than 3,000 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE research.
Meanwhile, there are several studies of current and former players to identify biomarkers that can detect CTE.
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