Hopkins Research Shows Brain Injury in Young NFL Players

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brain_scanThe scientific evidence connecting the blows to the head sustained by many NFL players and CTE is growing. Today’s sign comes from a team of Johns Hopkins researchers, who looked at the brains of young NFL players.

According to the JHU Hub, the researchers found that the younger players who were active in the NFL or retired within 12 years had evidence of brain damage, when compared with people who did not suffer concussions. In the players, they found changes in regions of the brain linked to memory, and a loss of white matter. The researchers believe the white matter, which is nerve fibers that connect different regions of the brain and has a role in multiple functions, is actually sheared when a player takes a hard hit.

CTE, a permanent neurodegenerative condition, can result in memory loss and confusion. It’s been found that a number of NFL players had the disease after their death.

To this point, the only proven way to diagnose CTE was at autopsy. The Hopkins research is also looking to change tat. Along with the data presented, another big finding was the tool that the researchers used to complete the study. They used a monitoring tool called positron emission tomography or PET, as well as MRI.

“The exciting part of our new findings is that we now believe we have a useful tool to monitor the brains of NFL players and athletes in other contact sports,” Jennifer Coughlin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, told the Hub.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.