AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Repeated head hits, not concussions, may lead to brain damage, study says

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Researchers reported Thursday that repeated hits to the head, including in sports and on the battlefield, lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE — even without a concussion.

The team, led by Dr. Lee Goldstein, published the findings after a seven-year study. Researchers from Boston University, where Goldstein works, as well as scientists from the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical School, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Oxford University contributed to the study.

A number of high-profile athletes have developed the Alzheimer’s-like disease but it’s also been found in service members hurt in roadside bombs and other blasts.

“Most hits to the head are not concussive… but no one is paying any attention to them,” Goldstein said in a CNN report.

About 20 percent of known cases of CTE had no record or report of concussion, Goldstein said.

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