Recently, there has been a lot of energy put into answering the question of whether or not repeated head trauma, such as concussions, may lead to degenerative brain diseases. While many scientists have long held that head and brain injuries do not lead to brain disease, a study at Boston University is the latest to point the other direction.
In the study, researchers examined the brains of 12 former athletes – each of whom had suffered multiple concussions during his career. Three of the athletes examined had also been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
What researchers found was unique protein deposits in the brain, closely associated with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), but still unique to these athletes – compared to those diagnosed with ALS who were not subject to multiple concussions.
Researchers were clear in their stance that the small study would have to be built upon before a reasonably assured conclusion could be drawn. Still, the results were solid enough to prompt discussion among physicians, as well as the news media.
Some have also begun to question whether Lou Gehrig might have been the victim of multiple head traumas. Researchers also postulated that multiple concussions might lead to other degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Even if head trauma is not directly related to these diseases, some experts question whether repeated trauma could weaken the brain, making it susceptible to other attacks.
- Blows to Head Linked to Disease (The Wall Street Journal)