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Brain injury proteins found in boxers' and martial artists' blood

Family members of and people with brain injuries in West Virginia may be aware of two brain injury markers called neurofilament light chain and tau. These two proteins are found in the blood of people who have suffered a brain injury. A recent study found that neurofilament light might be an indicator of acute traumatic brain injury, and tau might be more closely linked to accumulated damage to the brain over time.

The study consisted of 438 participants. The researchers analyzed the amount of the two proteins in the blood of active boxers and martial arts fighters, non-fighters and retired fighters. The largest portion of the participants were the active fighters as they made up 291 of the research subjects. Next were the non-fighters, which added up to 103 participants. Finally, the last of the participants were the 44 retired fighters.

The research participants' blood samples were analyzed over the course of five years. The study found that the active fighters had higher levels of both proteins than the other two groups of participants. The active fighters who had a rising amount of tau in their blood over the period of study showed a 7 percent decline in the size of their thalamus, the part of the brain that controls sleep, language and alertness. Lastly, the active fighters who had more neurofilament light in their blood were more likely to have poorer brain processing speed than the retired fighters and the non-fighters.

When a person suffers a brain injury, it is often a good idea to call an attorney. A personal injury lawyer might be able to assist a person who has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a private business owner.

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