August 9, 2013
Mashed brains – NFL style

One of the more common injuries encountered by NFL style football is that of the concussion. Unfortunately until recently it has been considered an invisible injury because it is really impossible to test for as no MRI or CT scan can detect it. However CNN Health is reporting that the Center of the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), a the Boston University School of Medicine, is shedding light of what concussions look like in the brain.

The findings are incredible. Far from the innocent little injuries that are thought to go away after bed rest we can see now that concussions confer tremendous brain damage They have even given the damage a name – chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

CTE has thus far been found in the brains of five out of five former NFL players. On Tuesday afternoon, researchers at the CSTE will release study results from the sixth NFL player exhibiting the same kind of damage.

"What's been surprising is that it's so extensive," said Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, and co-director of the CSTE. "It's throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it's deep inside."

CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young -- some as early as their 30s or 40s.

McKee, who also studies Alzheimer's disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.

"I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases," said McKee. "To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of."

The damage affects the parts of the brain that control emotion, rage, hypersexuality, even breathing, and recent studies find that CTE is a progressive disease that eventually kills brain cells.

Source: CNN Health

So much for helmets keeping you safe.