Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

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By Melissa Dahl When a Russian man was only 3, his older brother accidentally shot him with a pistol. More than eight decades later, the bullet was still there, according to a case report just published online in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The bullet hit the little boy right below the nose and eventually lodged itself in his foramen magnum, the opening in the bottom of the skull that allows the spinal cord to pass through and connect to the brain. The 3-year-old lost consciousness for several hours. At the time, a doctor examined the poor kid, but didn't remove the bullet for fear of causing more harm than good, says Dr. Marat Ezhov of Moscow's Cardiology Research Center, who examined the patient more than 80 years later. Incredibly, the boy recovered completely. "The body has an amazing ability to 'get used to' things," explains Dr. Richard O'Brien, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Also, children have a great ability to overcome hardship and rebuild themselves when injured." Eighty-two years later, Ezhov and Dr. Maya Safarova were treating the man at the cardiology center for his coronary heart disease. His patient history included the story of the accidental shooting, so doctors did a CT scan to check it out, which revealed the stowaway bullet. But the bullet had left no sign of neural damage -- further evidenced by the man's successful career as an award-winning engineer. © 2012 msnbc.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 16202 - Posted: 01.03.2012

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS What happens inside the skull of a soccer player who repeatedly heads a soccer ball? That question motivated a provocative new study of the brains of experienced players that has prompted discussion and debate in the soccer community, and some anxiety among those of us with soccer-playing offspring. For the study, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York recruited 34 adults, men and women. All of the volunteers had played soccer since childhood and now competed year-round in adult soccer leagues. Each filled out a detailed questionnaire developed especially for this study to determine how many times they had headed a soccer ball in the previous year, as well as whether they had experienced any known concussions in the past. Then the players completed computerized tests of their memory and other cognitive skills and had their brains scanned, using a sophisticated new M.R.I. technique known as diffusion tensor imaging, which can find structural changes in the brain that would not be visible during most scans. The researchers found, according to data they presented at a Radiological Society of North America meeting last month, that the players who had headed the ball more than about 1,100 times in the previous 12 months showed significant loss of white matter in parts of their brains involved with memory, attention and the processing of visual information, compared with players who had headed the ball fewer times. (White matter is the brain’s communication wiring, the axons and other structures that relay messages between neurons.) © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 16135 - Posted: 12.10.2011

By JOHN BRANCH THROUGH THE NIGHT and into the next day, as the scrolls across the bottom of television screens spread the news of Derek Boogaard’s death last May, the calls of condolences came, one after another. Among them was a call from a stranger, first to Joanne Boogaard in Regina, Saskatchewan, then to Len Boogaard in Ottawa. It was a researcher asking for the brain of their son. An examination of the brain could unlock answers to Boogaard’s life and death. It could save other lives. But there was not much time to make a decision. Boogaard, the N.H.L.’s fiercest fighter, dead of a drug and alcohol overdose at 28, was going to be cremated. There was little discussion. The brain was carved out of his skull by a coroner in Minneapolis. It was placed in a plastic bucket and inside a series of plastic bags, then put in a cooler filled with a slurry of icy water. It was driven to the airport and placed in the cargo hold of a plane to Boston. When it arrived at a laboratory at the Bedford V.A. Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., the brain was vibrantly pink and weighed 1,580 grams, or about 3 ½ pounds. On a stainless-steel table in the basement morgue, Dr. Ann McKee cleaved it in half, front to back, with a large knife. Much of one half was sliced into sheets about the width of sandwich bread. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 16116 - Posted: 12.06.2011

By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News Frequently heading a football can lead to brain injury, warn doctors who say they have found proof on brain scans. Imaging of 32 keen amateur players revealed patterns of damage similar to that seen in patients with concussion. There appears to be a safe cut off level of 1,000 or fewer headers a year below which no harm will be done, but the US investigators say more work is needed to confirm this. Heading is believed to have killed the English footballer Jeff Astle. Astle, 59, who died in 2002, developed cognitive problems after years of playing for England and West Bromwich Albion. The coroner ruled that his death resulted from a degenerative brain disease caused by heading heavy leather footballs. Although the balls used to play soccer today are much lighter than those used in the 1960s when Astle was playing, they can still pack a punch, says lead researcher Dr Michael Lipton of Montefiore Medical Center, the university hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. BBC © 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 16093 - Posted: 11.29.2011

By Emily Sohn Among the devastating consequences of her brain injury from a gunshot wound 10 months ago, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords lost the ability to talk. But with help from music-based therapy, according to an ABC News segment that aired this week, Giffords has rediscovered her voice and, it seems, her spirit. The footage, which shows Giffords crying in frustration when she tries unsuccessfully to talk but looking joyful as she sings fluently, paints a dramatic picture of the power of music to help people overcome brain injuries. Giffords' story also highlights both the potential and the limitations of a fairly new field of medicine. Music brings so much pleasure to our everyday lives, and it would make sense if music also worked as a healing tool. But scientists are still awaiting solid data to prove what seems to work in case study after case study. "It used to be thought that music was a superfluous thing, and no one understood why it developed from an evolutionary standpoint," said Michael De Georgia, director of the Center for Music and Medicine at Case Western Reserve University's University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. © 2011 Discovery Communications, LLC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 16045 - Posted: 11.17.2011

By JEFF Z. KLEIN GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Concussions continued to cast a long shadow over the N.H.L. on Thursday. The Rangers said there was no update on the condition of defenseman Marc Staal, who has not played this season and is still recovering from a concussion sustained in February that the club did not disclose until September. Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who has been sidelined by a concussion since early January, was cleared for contact a month ago and has practiced all week, including Wednesday, when he took several hard hits. Despite speculation that he would return for Friday’s home game against the Dallas Stars, Coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby would not play in either of the team’s games this weekend. That leaves Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the earliest possible return date for Crosby. Toronto goalie James Reimer has not played since Oct. 22, when he sustained an injury that the Maple Leafs have characterized variously as whiplash, concussion-like symptoms and an upper-body injury. The N.H.L. has earned praise this season for taking measures to reduce concussions, including introducing stronger rules against boarding and checks to the head, and strictly enforcing those rules through fines and suspensions. But questions persist about a league policy that allows teams to be vague about disclosure of injuries, and a recent incident suggested that in-game concussion protocols might be inconsistently applied. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 16019 - Posted: 11.11.2011

By JORGE CASTILLO PHOENIX, N.Y. — It was just another routine goal-line play in a high school football game on a Friday night. With a playoff berth on the line, Homer High School was nursing a 7-6 lead on its home field with about six minutes to play in the third quarter against a conference rival, the Phoenix Firebirds of John C. Birdlebough High School. On third down from the Phoenix 6, Homer ran a dive up the middle and was stopped short. A seemingly typical play run thousands of times in countless high school football games each weekend. There were no pounding hits or awkward takedowns. No reason for each player not to get up from the pile and return to his huddle. Yet one player remained on the field too long after the play was over. With everyone else on their feet, defensive tackle Ridge Barden was face down on the field. His coach, Jeff Charles; a doctor; and two emergency medical technicians headed onto the field to tend to him. Barden was at first groggy but responsive and coherent as the four reached him. But in minutes, his condition deteriorated. He began to moan and his eyes closed. He tried to stand, but instead quickly collapsed. Two hours later, Barden was dead. He was 16. Barden’s father, Jody, said a coroner’s report released Sunday ruled the cause of death to be a cerebral hemorrhage. The death is another in a growing list of fatal football-related head injuries. Each year, a handful of such deaths are reported across the country. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15916 - Posted: 10.17.2011

By BENEDICT CAREY Techniques being used to treat psychological lapses from traumatic brain injuries, the signature wounds suffered by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, appear to be helpful, but lack rigorous scientific support, a government-appointed panel reported Tuesday after completing the most comprehensive analysis of the evidence to date. The report, completed by the Institute of Medicine at the request of the Defense Department, concluded that some specific methods — the use of special daily diaries, for instance, to improve memory — were backed by more evidence than others. But it concluded that the evidence base over all was too thin to support any guidelines for which therapies to provide to whom. Since 2009, the Pentagon has provided more than 71,000 hours of so-called cognitive rehabilitation, and its insurer, Tricare, has covered an additional 54,000 hours in private clinics for active duty, National Guard and retired service members, according to Cynthia O. Smith, a Department of Defense spokeswoman. Such rehabilitation methods have come under intense scrutiny from family members of veterans who suffered traumatic brain injuries, including those caused by nonpenetrating blasts, as well as wounds from bombs, bullets or blows to the head. Some 20 percent of service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered blows to the face, neck or head, and the number of brain injuries has nearly tripled in the past decade, to more than 30,000 from 11,000. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15908 - Posted: 10.13.2011

By JANE ROSETT “WANT a piece of gum, Jane?” asked my friend Andrée. “What?” I asked her. “Gum!” I didn’t know what she was talking about. “It’s Trident.” It was delicious. That evening, I told my friend David about my day’s big discovery. “It’s called gum and you chew it and it’s fun and there’s this one kind that will let me blow bubbles!” “Yes, it’s called bubble gum, Jane,” he told me, patiently. Fifty-nine months ago, I was wearing my seat belt and my car was stopped when another vehicle hit me, causing my head to fracture the windshield. That damaged my right temporal lobe, one of my neurologists explained when he told me I had a traumatic brain injury. I lost my long-term memory, and have been a brain injury patient within Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals ever since. At 45, I was jolted into an entirely new existence. Memories that connected different parts of my life fragmented and vanished. It took 26 months before I was able to thread my way back unattended to the house I had lived in for 17 years. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15894 - Posted: 10.10.2011

Boston University researchers have found a degenerative disease linked to head trauma in the brain tissue of the late NHL great Rick Martin, the first 50-goal scorer for the Buffalo Sabres and a member of their famed French Connection line. Martin, who died in March of hypertensive heart disease at age 59, becomes the third former NHL player found by researchers to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a disease that causes cognitive decline, behavioural abnormalities and ultimately dementia. After his death, Martin's family donated his brain to the Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, a collaboration between Boston University Medical School and the Sports Legacy Institute. All three former NHL players who agreed to have their brains studied post-mortem at the centre — Martin, Bob Probert and Reggie Fleming — have now been shown to have had CTE, but Martin is the first who did not play an enforcer role and regularly participate in on-ice fights, the centre says. Neurosurgeon Robert Cantu, who co-founded the institute and is co-director of the CTE centre, told CBC News the findings in Martin's case are alarming because he only suffered perhaps one concussion in his career, unrelated to fighting. "What I can tell you bothers me: The first two cases in the National Hockey League, Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert [were] renowned fighters, 400 recognized fights during their ice hockey career, God knows how many in bars," Cantu told CBC's Stephanie Jenzer in an documentary airing Wednesday on The National, in which CBC News was granted rare access to the brain centre's lab. © CBC 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15880 - Posted: 10.06.2011

By SAM BORDEN WASHINGTON — The N.F.L’s first attempt at a long-range study on the effects of concussions was riddled with problems from the manner in which data was collected to conflicts of interest for those overseeing it. After criticism from outside experts and even members of Congress, the study was shut down by the league in late 2009. Nearly two years later, however, the N.F.L.’s committee on concussion research is planning a considerably broader study — an effort that could begin gathering data as soon as next season, according to one of the doctors involved. The doctor, Mitchel S. Berger, the chairman of the neurological surgery department at the University of California San Francisco, said Monday that he and the N.F.L.’s subcommittee on former players and long-term effects of brain and spine injury had been holding conference calls regarding the study every two weeks with representatives from the players’ union. He added that he hoped to make a final presentation to the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell “in the near future.” Berger said he was aware of the issues surrounding the previous study, and said the latest model was completely different. “There was no science in that,” Berger said in reference to the study coordinated by Dr. Ira Casson, who was also the league’s primary voice in discrediting outside research on concussions. Asked if he might use any of the data from Casson’s work, Berger shook his head. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15872 - Posted: 10.04.2011

by Bob Holmes THE two men in the hospital ward had both hit their heads in car accidents, but that was where the similarities ended. One would spend weeks unconscious in critical care, near to death. The other had only a mild concussion; he never lost consciousness, but somehow didn't feel quite right. Yet months later their roles were reversed. "The one with the severe injury is almost back to normal function," says Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury Repair at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, "and the one with concussion can't go back to work, probably ever." Smith's two patients illustrate one of the frustrating paradoxes of head injuries: even seemingly mild impacts can have devastating long-term consequences. And we have no way of predicting who will fully recover and who will have lingering problems. Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury as doctors call it, has long been seen as a benign and temporary affliction. But over the past decade there has been growing realisation that longer-term symptoms can affect between 10 and 15 per cent of those diagnosed with it. These range from fuzzy thinking and memory lapses to, for the most unfortunate, serious neurological conditions such as premature Alzheimer's disease. In fact, concussion is thought to be the single biggest environmental cause of Alzheimer's. Even a mild impact can double the risk of developing early dementia, according to a massive study of older military veterans in the US, which was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in July (bit.ly/pDhlHJ). In that, the risk jumped from 7 to 15 per cent. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15806 - Posted: 09.15.2011

Ed Pilkington Dave Duerson had so much going for him. A former professional American football player, he still carried himself with the bearing of a star. In Chicago, he was feted as a member of the legendary 1985 Bears that won the Super Bowl, thrashing the New England Patriots 46-10. In New York, too, he was fondly remembered as a member of the Giants team that took the Super Bowl championship five years later, squeaking to victory over the Buffalo Bills by just one point. He had friends throughout the sport, acquired over an 11-year career with the National Football League (NFL) and many years subsequently helping younger and less fortunate players find their way. He had a loving family with three sons and a daughter and a former wife, Alicia, who kept in regular touch, as well as a girlfriend to whom he had recently become engaged. He lived in a condominium that he owned on Sunny Isles Beach in Florida, a barrier island close to Miami dubbed the Venice of America. He was smart, charming, as kind and gentle off the field as he had been aggressive and ruthless on it. But he knew that he had a problem. There were the outward signs of difficulties – the collapse of his business, the breakup of his marriage, the debts. But there were also the internal changes. The lapses in memory, the mood swings, the piercing headaches on the left side of his head, the difficulty spelling simple words, the blurred eyesight. And hanging over it all was his fear that both his material and physical decline might not be coincidental, that they might have been caused by injuries to his brain suffered playing the game he loved so much – football. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15612 - Posted: 07.28.2011

by Greg Miller According to some estimates, more than 300,000 United States troops have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these injuries have resulted from blasts from roadside bombs and other explosives planted by insurgents. The lack of knowledge about how an explosive blast injures the brain has hampered efforts to treat these injuries. Now, two studies offer a potentially important insight, pointing to a mechanism that hadn't been considered before. The lead author of the studies, Harvard University bioengineer Kevin Kit Parker, says he had a vested interest in the research. Parker shifted his focus from cardiac to brain research after two tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army infantry officer. "I kept seeing buddies of mine get hit and thought, 'All right, I'll take a look at this and see if I can get an angle on it.' " Back at Harvard, Parker and his lab devised a blast simulator for cells. In one study, published today in PLoS ONE, the researchers grew rat neurons in a culture dish and then attached them to a sheet of stretchy polymer. A high-precision motor gave a carefully calibrated tug to the sheet to subject the neurons to mechanical forces Parker calculated to be comparable to those produced by an explosion. Through a microscope, the researchers saw that the "blast" caused swelling, breakage, and other signs of injuries to the neurons' spindly axons and dendrites, which send and receive signals from other neurons. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 15591 - Posted: 07.25.2011

By KEN BELSON The Ivy League will announce on Wednesday that, in an effort to minimize head injuries among its football players, it will sharply reduce the number of allowable full-contact practices teams can hold. The changes, to be implemented this season, go well beyond the rules set by the N.C.A.A. and are believed to be more stringent than those of any other conference. The league will also review the rules governing men’s and women’s hockey, lacrosse and soccer to determine if there are ways to reduce hits to the head and concussions in those sports. The new rules will be introduced as a growing amount of research suggests that limiting full-contact practices may be among the most practical ways of reducing brain trauma among football players. According to a study of three Division I college teams published last year in the Journal of Athletic Training, college players sustain more total hits to the head in practices than in games. “Because of the seriousness of the potential consequences, the presidents determined the league needed to take proactive steps in protecting the welfare of our student-athletes,” said Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy League. According to the new rules, teams will be able to hold only two full-contact practices per week during the season, compared with a maximum of five under N.C.A.A. guidelines. On the other days of the week, practices cannot include contact or live tackles, and no player may be “taken to the ground.” © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15588 - Posted: 07.21.2011

By Linda Carroll Two new studies — one in veterans and the other in retired football players — add to the mounting evidence linking head injuries to an increased the risk of dementia Veterans who had been diagnosed with a brain injury, anything from a concussion to a severe head wound, were more than twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with no injury to the brain, researchers reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association’ International Conference in Paris. The results were even more striking in a study of retired football players: 35 percent of the former National Football League players had signs of dementia, which compares to a 13 percent Alzheimer’s rate in the general population. For the veterans study, researchers reviewed the medical records of 281,540 military personnel age 55 and older who received care at Veterans Administration hospitals from 1997 to 2000 and who had at least one follow-up visit from 2001 to 2007. None of the veterans in the study were diagnosed with dementia at the beginning of the seven year study. Almost 5,000 of the veterans had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their risk of developing dementia by the end of the study was 15.3 percent. That’s compared to 6.8 percent of those with no TBI diagnosis. The football player study is a follow-up of earlier research that included a survey of nearly 4,000 retired NFL players in 2001. In 2008, new surveys were sent to the 905 players who were over 50 years old. © 2011 msnbc.com.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15579 - Posted: 07.19.2011

By DENISE GRADY A new study may help explain why some military personnel exposed to blasts have symptoms of brain injury even though their CT and M.R.I. scans look normal. Using a highly sensitive type of magnetic resonance imaging, researchers studied 63 servicemen wounded by explosions in Iraq or Afghanistan and found evidence of brain injuries in some that were too subtle to be detected by standard scans. All the men already had a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (synonymous with concussion), based on symptoms like having lost consciousness in the blast, having no memory of it or feeling dazed immediately afterward. About 320,000 American troops have sustained traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them mild, according to a 2008 report by the RAND Corporation. The injuries are poorly understood, and sometimes produce lasting mental, physical and emotional problems. “This sort of mild traumatic brain injury has been quite controversial,” said Dr. David L. Brody, an author of the new study and an assistant professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. “Is it due to structural abnormalities in the brain, chemical dysregulation, psychological factors or all three? We show that at least in some there are structural abnormalities.” The pattern of the damage differed from that found in head injuries not caused by blasts, and matched computer simulations predicting how explosions would affect the brain, Dr. Brody said. If the new findings hold up, he added, they may eventually influence the design of helmets to provide more protection against blasts. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15386 - Posted: 06.02.2011

Derek Boogaard's relatives and fans shed tears Sunday as they remembered the former NHL tough guy as a "teddy bear" who was as generous and kind as he was burly and tough, a somber end to a weekend during which his distraught family agreed to donate his brain to medical researchers. The 28-year-old Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers. Boogaard's agent and a spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine confirmed Sunday that his brain will be examined for signs of a degenerative disease often found in athletes who sustain repeated hits to the head. "It's an amazing thing he did and his family did. Hopefully, that'll bring some information," agent Ron Salcer said. "We don't know exactly the impact that the concussions might have played." Salcer spent three days with Boogaard in Los Angeles earlier in the week. Salcer remarked about his client's brightened demeanor, after suffering through a winter of not being able to play or even be active while his head healed. "He seemed very good, and that's what makes it more painful," Salcer said. "He was really starting to feel better about everything. He was in great shape." Minneapolis police said there were no outward signs of trauma, but results of an autopsy are expected to take several weeks. There is no known concussion connection to his death, but at Boogaard's wish his family signed papers to donate his brain to the BU Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The donation was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. © CBC 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15333 - Posted: 05.16.2011

By ALAN SCHWARZ When the N.F.L. veteran Andre Waters killed himself in late 2006, the subsequent discovery of damage in his brain shocked the football community into asking how many other retired players might have an incurable disease. After the recent suicide of Dave Duerson, however, and last Monday’s announcement that he also had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain damage formerly associated with boxers, the finding shocked no one. Duerson became the 14th retired N.F.L. player — of 15 examined by Boston University researchers — to test positive for the condition. Waters and Duerson bookend a remarkable shift in the understanding of football brain trauma: four years after a few positive tests begged explanation, questions mainly surround the absence of negatives. “It makes you worry as a player — I would imagine all of us have it,” said Chidi Ahanotu, 40, who played defensive lineman mostly for Tampa Bay from 1993 to 2004. “To what degree, I don’t know. But I don’t know how you can’t think that.” So far, though, each successive case of C.T.E. has said more about the existence of the disease than the true breadth of it. The set of 15 players tested by B.U. researchers to this point is far from a random sample of N.F.L. retirees that could represent the wider population. Many of the players died under conditions that could be related to C.T.E.: Waters and Duerson by suicide, John Grimsley from a gun accident, Tom McHale from a drug overdose. Their families then donated the brains largely to seek an explanation for their behavior. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15307 - Posted: 05.09.2011

by John Travis Researchers this morning confirmed what former National Football League player Dave Duerson must have feared when he shot himself in the abdomen back in February, killing the 51 year old who had starred for several teams as a safety. An autopsy study showed that Duerson’s brain was riddled with classic signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of brain damage that is becoming an increasing concern among athletes in violent contact sports. Duerson’s form of suicide was apparently carefully chosen to preserve his brain as he had texted his family that he wanted the organ to be examined at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE). At a press conference there today, researchers reported that there was evidence of moderately advanced CTE in several regions of Duerson’s brain, including the frontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, which play roles in impulse control, mood, memory, and other cognitive functions. “Dave Duerson had classic pathological CTE and no sign of any other disease,” neuropathologist and CSTE Co-Director Ann McKee told the press conference. McKee notes that there’s evidence suggesting CTE predisposes people to suicide, although how remains unclear; a colleague called it a “chicken and the egg problem,” explaining that CTE may cause problems in life that encourage suicides rather than specifically promote suicidal behavior by altering the working of the brain. Collisions that cause concussions and even lesser hits appear to spur the development of CTE. At the press conference CSTE Co-Director Chris Nowinski, a former college football player and professional wrestler, urged youth football coaches to carefully control how much violent contact there is during practices as to reduce the overall number of hits. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15289 - Posted: 05.03.2011