Football players who have problems with memory and behavior have no way of knowing for sure if being beaten too often damage the brain. The only test to diagnose their condition is made after death at autopsy. But now, researchers are experimenting with an imaging technique to detect a debilitating disease caused by repeated concussions. And a study in Boston dropped five athletes – three NFL players, a boxer and a wrestler – is called a preliminary step toward the diagnosis and treatment may be even the brain.
The image of chemicals found suspicious changes in the former athletes. They had suffered multiple blows to the head during the game and showed behavior indicating possible brain damage. The chemical changes were not found in five participants in the study of good health.
The results of this non-invasive “virtual biopsy” technique suggests that athletes have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the authors of the study. The disease is a suspected cause of “Punch-Drunk” symptoms, memory loss and behavioral changes among NFL players and others who have had repeated concussions.
]The issue has taken control from autopsy found degeneration of the brain in a handful of former NFL players who died young. Concerns about the dangers of repeated concussions led to congressional hearings that the policy recommendations of medical groups and restrictions on how professional athletes and students can quickly return to the game after being hit in the head.
In the study presented Wednesday at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting in Chicago. The researchers used a special type of MRI that measures chemical. Altered levels of certain chemicals in the brain damage, said lead author Alexander Lin of Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“It tells us that these guys with a head injury has repeated something that is biochemically abnormal,” said Lin. There was no “before and after” pictures of the brains of athletes, and the research does not prove that the repeated blows caused the head injury. But it provides fascinating evidence which must be confirmed by other research, said Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chief of a program of sports injuries Neurological University of Michigan.
“It ‘s an important step,” said Kutcher, who was not involved in the study. Currently, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE is diagnosed by the pathologist during the examination of brain tissue from autopsies. There is no treatment condition. But if it is found that chemical changes in the brain are a symptom of the real.
so the researchers could test drugs that affect these chemicals to see if it slows or prevents the symptoms.”Only then can we get the point, studying potential treatments are not able to diagnose during life,” said Robert Stern, co-author and director of research at the heart of Boston University students, CTE.
Several former NFL players have decided to donate brains for research after death.If the new imaging proves to be an accurate detection method, then the technique could potentially help determine whether athletes with head injuries can return to sports or should stop playing for good, said Dr. Stefan Bluml, director of an imaging technology lab at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.