AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Evidence of Brain Injury Found in Young NFL Players

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In a small study of young or recently retired NFL players, researchers at Johns Hopkins report finding evidence of brain injury and repair that is visible on imaging from the players compared to a control group of men without history of concussion. In a report on the study that used positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI, the researchers highlighted the value of PET imaging to monitor a marker of injury and repair in the brains of NFL players and athletes in other contact sports. The new research builds on a rising tide of anecdotal evidence and a few scientific studies suggesting that people with repeated concussive head injuries incurred while playing football, hockey or boxing are at a higher-than-normal risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is associated with memory deficits, confusion, poor decision-making and later onset of dementia. 

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