The National Football League (NFL) season doesn’t officially kick off until September 5, but a familiar tale is starting to repeat itself. So far, 11 players have been listed on injured reserve because of concussions suffered during pre-season games and practices.
The fear that athletes who suffer repeated blows to the head may end up with a preventable cause of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is leading neurodegeneration researchers at Penn to join in a collaborative study of retired NFL players, to see if there are any clinical symptoms (such as depression, disinhibition, cognitive or motor impairment) and biomarkers present that can be measured and tracked over time. The ultimate goal is to use the clinical symptoms and biomarkers to be able to diagnose CTE during lifetime, as the only way to diagnose CTE currently is through an examination of brain tissue after death. Continue reading