Head injuries may contribute to degenerative brain disease

Researchers have reported new evidence suggesting that a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) may be the result of head impacts, not just concussions. This knowledge could improve efforts to detect, treat and prevent CTE, a condition commonly associated with athletes involved with high-impact sports like football and military veterans with a history of head trauma. West Virginia residents may have heard that more than 100 NFL players have been diagnosed with the disease, which can only be positively detected after death.

For the study, researchers examined tissues from subjects who had a head injury shortly before their death. They discovered that early signs of CTE were evident even without signs of a concussion. It's this pathology that suggests any type of injury to the head may contribute to the disease. Researchers also noted the condition appears to continue to spread long after the initial injury is sustained.

Additionally, study authors reported finding signs of CTE in the brains of both adults and teens with a history of repetitious head injuries. Mice and computer models were also used to validate the research and support findings. CTE is a condition that may affect judgment and cognitive abilities. Possible symptoms also include increased aggression, depression and memory loss. Researchers hope findings will provide an incentive to look for signs of the disease even in the absence of concussion symptoms.

If any type of brain injury is the result of some type of negligence, a personal injury lawyer could help a victim seek compensation for medical expenses and long-term care. An attorney could also review medical tests to determine if a client was effectively treated following the initial injury.

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